ESSI seminar - Deborah Kelley

Deborah Kelley, University of Washington

‘Wiring an Active Underwater Volcano: Eruptions, Hot Springs and Novel Life’

This week we are excited to welcome Deborah Kelley from the University of Washington to give the ESSI Seminar. Deborah Kelley’s research focuses on understanding process linkages among active submarine volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, and the life that they support. She is the Director Regional Cabled Array of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative.

Register to attend here.

Abstract: This video-illustrated talk will take you on a tour of one of the most dynamic environments on Earth - ‘Axial Seamount’. Our window into this world is the Regional Cabled Array, an underwater laboratory that streams live data from over 150 instruments to shore 24/7. Using high definition video from deep-diving remotely operated vehicles, we will explore Axial Seamount, which is the largest and most active volcano off our coast. This volcano erupted in 1998, 2011, and 2015. Located at nearly a mile beneath the oceans surface, Axial displays an amazing seascape of glass covered collapsed lava lakes with spectacular archways and deep channels where rivers of lava flowed. Heat from molten material within the core of the volcano drives spectacular underwater hot springs emitting boiling fluids and hosting amazing life forms that thrive off of the volcanic gasses. In 2015, a seismic crisis marked be >8000 earthquakes in 24 hours pronounced the start of a large eruption, with one flow reaching >127 m in thickness. Water born acoustic events delineated >30,000 explosions as lava poured onto the seafloor. Three months after the eruption, the summit of the thickest flow was covered by acres of microbial mats, fueled by the nutrient-rich warm water issuing from the cooling lava flow. Instruments on the summit of the volcano show that the volcano is poised to erupt again. The cabled observatory continues to grow with novel instrumentation that tracks deformation of the volcano as molten material continues to collect beneath its summit.