UW News

April 17, 2015

Workshop to explore the scientific potential of a hardwired seafloor volcano

UW News

Last summer, a team of University of Washington oceanographers successfully installed hardware deep underwater for an Internet-connected observatory off the Washington and Oregon coasts.

Now scientists from around the country are meeting to discuss how this will change how people monitor and study seafloor geology. The Networked Observations and Visualizations of the Axial Environment, or NOVAE, workshop, titled “Axial volcano: Wired and restless,” will take place April 20 through 22 at the Talaris Conference Center near the UW.

The program says the meeting aims to review and update the driving scientific questions related to Axial volcano and similar systems; explore new technology that can be added to the seafloor network; create research paths for the next five, 10 and 20 years; and create a draft science plan for the larger community to review.

Conference organizer John Delaney, a UW professor of oceanography, will give the opening lecture with Kendra Daly, a professor at the University of South Florida. The speaker Monday evening will be Richard Murray, the director of the ocean sciences division of the National Science Foundation.

William Wilcock, a UW professor of oceanography, has been watching the seismic data since it began flowing last fall to a Seattle data center. In a blog post in early 2015, Wilcock noted the increasing number of tremors and asked if the volcano might be about to erupt. Since then he has been posting daily updates on the seismic activity recorded at the 3,600-foot-tall volcano, located on the seafloor about 300 miles off of Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Researchers at Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who also are tracking what they think is an impending eruption will be at the workshop as well.

Other presenters include UW oceanographers Deborah Kelley, Giora Proskurowski, Mike Harrington, David Butterfield, Dana Manalang and Marvin Lilley.

Sponsors of the three-day meeting include the UW College of the Environment, the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, Ocean Networks Canada, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.