PMEL Earth-Ocean Interactions Program logo Earth-Ocean Interactions Program link Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Research Themes

Research Sites:
Click map to go to Expeditions.

The NOAA/PMEL Vents Program has re-organized into two separate focused programs:
Earth-Ocean Interactions and Acoustics.

Sully Vent at Endeavour NE PacificEarth-Ocean Interactions


Discovering, measuring, understanding, and predicting ecological impacts of natural chemical, biological, and geological processes between the solid Earth and Ocean.


The Earth-Ocean Interactions Program contributes to NOAA’s objective of achieving a holistic understanding of marine ecosystems by exploration and research on hydrothermal vents, their impacts on the global ocean, and their unique chemosynthetic biological communities. This includes ecosystem characterization, resource assessment, environmental observation, and technology development.


Recent Highlights:

3D view of Axial SeamountAxial Seamount is erupting!


An eruption appears to have started at Axial Seamount on April 24.  Seven months ago, the eruption was forecast to occur by the end of 2015, based on seafloor pressure measurements. Axial Seamount is the most active submarine volcano in the NE Pacific and the site of the new OOI cabled observatory. More information on the eruption forecast is HERE, and live data from the seafloor is displayed HERE.


Nature News

OSU Press Release
Seattle Times (4/29/15)

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1991 Alvin expedition group photo30 Year History of the Program


A 30-year history of the NOAA Vents program was published in Oceanography.  In 1983, a small team of NOAA PMEL scientists, later joined by colleagues at Oregon State University (CIMRS) and the University of Washington (JISAO), exploited new seafloor and water column mapping technologies to understand the impact of hydrothermal systems on ocean chemistry and seafloor ecosystems.

In 2013, the program was restructured into two new programs continuing the Vents legacy while focusing directly on NOAA strategic goals in ocean processes and ecosystems.

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pre-eruption 3D map of Sarigan

Submarine Ring of Fire 2014-Ironman expedition:


Continued exploration in the western Pacific brought EOI scientists back to the Mariana Arc and Back-arc at the end of 2014. Using ROV Jason and CTD casts, scientists discovered that Daikoku seamount was found to be erupting for the first time, but NW Rota seamount was no longer active. Other highlights included a return to NW Eifuku and its Champagne vent field where a huge community of mussels live in a high-CO2 environment. All the discoveries can be viewed at the Ocean Explorer SRoF14 cruise website.

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