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:

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scientists discovered that Daikoku seamount was found to be erupting for the first time, but NW Rota seamount was no longer active.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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3D view of Axial SeamountAxial Seamount Eruption Forecast


An eruption is forecast to occur at Axial Seamount by the end of 2015, based on measurements of uplift of the seafloor in the summit caldera since the 2011 eruption. Axial Seamount is the most active submarine volcano in the NE Pacific and the site of the new OOI/RSN cabled observatory. Follow the eruption forecast on our new Axial Blog.


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coral reef at MaugMaug Island


An expedition on the NOAA ship Hi’ialakai, May 11-20, 2014, was focused on Maug island in the northern Marianas, which is a flooded caldera where volcanic CO2 vents directly into a shallow coral reef ecosystem. Preliminary results show that gradients in pH are created around the CO2 vents and they have a strong impact on the health and distribution of coral species around the vents.

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