PMEL Earth-Ocean Interactions Program logo National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Earth-Ocean Interactions Program
Explorer Ridge location

Explorer Ridge:

Explorer Ridge lies at the northern end of a chain of 3 spreading centers located off the west coast of North America in the NE Pacific. Explorer Ridge consists of one major segment, Southern Explorer Ridge, and several smaller segments. Magic Mountain is a large active hydrothermal vent area located on the Southern Explorer Ridge. Before 2002, Explorer Ridge was the least explored of the NE Pacific spreading centers, even though it was known to have robust hydrothermal activity and is seismically active.


image from Mystic virtual site Take a virtual tour of Magic Mountain on the southern Explorer Ridge!
Visit NOAA's Ocean Explorer's Magic Mountain Virtual Site for fly-through animations and virtual realty panoramas were created by EOI Program scientists and collaborators.



  Explorer Ridge imageABE bathymetry image showing the crest of Southern Explorer Ridge. Purple and dark blue colors indicate deepest depths.

2002 Expedition*:


In the summer of 2002, the EOI Program conducted 2 cruises to further survey Explorer Ridge. The first expedition included detailed mapping using multibeam sonar systems from the ship and from an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named ABE. In addition, extensive water column surveys were conducted using CTDs to detect and survey hydrothermal plumes. The second expedition used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named ROPOS to explore hydrothermally active sites on the seafloor based on the results from the first expedition.



More information: Cruise website, Cruise report, Multimedia gallery, Magic Mountain Virtual Site


* Funded in part by NOAA's Ocean Exploration and Research Program