National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

New Vents Discovered Along Mariana Back-Arc

Bathymetry map

Comparison of data collected in 2013 and 2015. Outlined black areas are new lava flows. Map by Susan Merle.

December 17, 2015

PMEL Scientists have identified four new hydrothermal vent sites along the Mariana Back-Arc. The region was systematically surveyed over the course of a 28 day cruise aboard the R/V Falkor that was just completed. In addition to the new sites, the scientists identified that one site had evidence of a recently erupted lava flow. The lava flow is the deepest historical eruption yet discovered (at 4100-4450 meters deep) and the first to be found along a slow-spreading ridge.

Read the press release and the cruise blog, both from the Schmidt Ocean Institute which supported the cruise by providing ship time and equipment. The mission was also supported by NOAA Ocean and Research Program and NOAA’s Pacific Island Regional Office.

PMEL Project: