National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2017

Voluminous eruption from a zoned magma body after an increase in supply rate at Axial Seamount

Chadwick, Jr., W.W., B.P. Paduan, D.A. Clague, B.M. Dreyer, S.G. Merle, A.M. Bobbitt, D.W. Caress, B.T. Philip, D.S. Kelley, and S.L. Nooner

Geophys. Res. Lett., 43(23), 12,063–12,070, doi: 10.1002/2016GL071327, Available online: Open access (2016)

Axial Seamount is the best monitored submarine volcano in the world, providing an exceptional window into the dynamic interactions between magma storage, transport, and eruption processes in a mid-ocean ridge setting. An eruption in April 2015 produced the largest volume of erupted lava since monitoring and mapping began in the mid-1980s after the shortest repose time, due to a recent increase in magma supply. The higher rate of magma replenishment since 2011 resulted in the eruption of the most mafic lava in the last 500–600 years. Eruptive fissures at the volcano summit produced pyroclastic ash that was deposited over an area of at least 8 km2. A systematic spatial distribution of compositions is consistent with a single dike tapping different parts of a thermally and chemically zoned magma reservoir that can be directly related to previous multichannel seismic-imaging results.

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