Underwater volcano eruption heard on new UW sensors

SEATTLE- Inside offices at the University of Washington, they can hear an underwater eruption.

Seismologist William Wilcock picked up thousands of earthquakes from the latest eruption of the Axial volcano, located about 300 miles off the Washington/Oregon Coast. About the only thing they couldn't do was watch it on HD video.

Neptune is an interactive underwater observatory consisting of 600 miles of high capacity and hardened fiber optic cable hooked up to a range of sensors. Those sensors including hydrophones that hear, seismometers that pick up earthquakes and cameras that feed back HD video, among others.

Expected to go live online in the next few months, the sensors started picking up a swarm of small earthquakes under Axial earlier in the month, the number of quakes picked up last week just as noise of the eruption was heard on those underwater microphones.

Another sensor also detected that the surface of a depression in the volcano had dropped about eight feet, indicating molten magma in a chamber below the surface had likely made it out of the volcano's crater.


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