U.S. Dept. of Commerce / NOAA / OAR / PMEL / Publications
Until recently, no practical method has been available to continuously monitor seismicity of seafloor spreading centers. The availability of the U.S. Navy's SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS) for environmental research has allowed the continuous monitoring of low-level seismicity of the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the northeast Pacific. On June 22, 1993, NOAA installed a prototype system at U.S. Naval Facility Whidbey Island to allow real-time acoustic monitoring of the Juan de Fuca Ridge using SOSUS. On June 26, 2145 GMT, a burst of low-level seismic activity, with accompanying harmonic tremor, was observed and subsequently located near 46°15'N, 129°53'W, on the spreading axis of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Over the following 2 days, the activity migrated to the NNE along the spreading axis with the final locus of activity near 46°31.5'N, 129°35'W. The nature of the seismicity was interpreted to represent a lateral dike injection with the possibility of eruption on the seafloor. Based on this interpretation, a response effort was initiated by U.S. and Canadian research vessels, and both warm water plumes and fresh lavas were subsequently identified at the site.
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