The underwater volcano Axial Seamount apparently erupted April 24 causing earthquakes on the seafloor, however researchers are confident none of them are a threat.
According to a May 1 Christian Science Monitor news report, scientists at the University of Washington detected around 8,000 earthquakes off the Oregon coast on April 24, however the earthquakes took place well underground near the seafloor.
The suspected eruption at the Axial Seamount, an underwater volcano located about 300 miles offshore, was not much of a surprise to scientists. Bill Chadwick, a geologist at Oregon State University, predicted an eruption would occur this year. He appears to have been right.
“It isn’t clear yet whether the earthquakes and deflation at Axial are related to a full-blown eruption, or if it is only a large intrusion of magma that hasn’t quite reached the surface,” Chadwick said in a statement. “There are some hints that lava did erupt, but we may not know for sure until we can get out there with a ship.”
Oregon Live reported that in the past five months there were signs that an eruption was bound to take place. Hundreds of small earthquakes rumbled the seafloor almost daily. On April 24 they spiked, causing temperatures to rise and the sea floor to drop over two meters, the result of an underwater volcanic eruption.
Researchers say the earthquakes are not a threat because the eruptions take place deep underwater. and are at low level of magnitude – reaching a level of 1 or 2 with gradual seafloor movement.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that by becoming better at predicting underwater volcanic activity, researchers hope they can increase predictability for more dangerous volcanic eruptions.