Discovering, measuring, understanding, and predicting impacts of natural chemical, biological, and geological processes on the oceanic web of life.
The Earth-Ocean Interactions Program contributes to NOAA’s objective of achieving a holistic understanding of marine ecosystems by exploring and characterizing hydrothermal vents, their impacts on the global ocean, and their unique chemosynthetic biological communities. This research includes ecosystem characterization, resource assessment, environmental observation, and technology development.
The 2012 expedition aboard the R/V Revelle used the MARUM QUEST 4000 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) investigating multiple sites on the northernmost spreading centers, magmatic arc and backarc regions of the northern Lau basin. The 12 dives discovered many new submarine hot springs, underwater fumaroles and several new species of chemosynthetic fauna. Details of the exciting discoveries made during this cruise are at NOAA Ocean Explorer website.
NOAA PMEL scientists recently published papers in the journal Nature Geoscience that show, for the first time, that precursory signals were recorded by seafloor instruments before an undersea volcanic eruption at Axial Seamount in 2011. The work was jointly funded by NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Such signals could be used to issue long-term and short-term forecasts of future eruptions at the site.
PMEL scientists discovered two active eruptions in the NE Lau Basin, one at the NE Lau spreading center and the other at West Mata Volcano.
Later a “rapid response” expedition returned to the two eruption sites with ROV Jason and witnessed spectacular eruptions continuing at West Mata Volcano.
EOI scientists return at Lau Basin September 2012, visit expedition here.
View W. Mata erupting on YouTube.