UW Researchers stream live video from undersea volcano

Aug 23, 2011

A University of Washington research ship is sending amazing live video of the aftermath of an undersea volcanic eruption. The large volcano is about 300 miles due west of Astoria, Oregon.

Some scientists theorize life on our planet started at a place like this.

The active undersea volcano is called Axial Seamount. During a research cruise four weeks ago, OSU and NOAA scientists confirmed a major eruption occurred at the volcano this spring.

Now, another research ship has returned to the scene with an unmanned robotic submersible.

"There's only been a couple places in the entire history of oceanography where we've actually been on the seafloor either right as a volcano is erupting or shortly after that," explains UW marine geologist Debbie Kelley, the co-chief scientist on board. "So it represents a phenomenal opportunity to examine major processes that go on underneath the ocean's surface."

Kelley says all this week researchers plan to stream live video from the seafloor onto the internet via a satellite link.

Some of the cool things you may see include fresh lava flows, cartoonish deep sea octopi and hydrothermal vents called "snowblowers" and "black smokers."

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