An underwater volcano off the coast of Washington State may be blowing its top. At the same time, a massive new magma pool has been discovered under Yellowstone. In accordance with the predictions of two geologists (Bill Chadwick, of Oregon State University and Scott Nooner of the University of North Carolina Wilmington) the Axial Seamount – the most active submarine volcano in the of the northwest coast, has become active. Thousands of microquakes have been recorded in the area over the past week. These quakes, like the ones being recorded at Yellowstone, are probably a result of magma movement, although there is no evidence of any immediate threat at Yellowstone. The sea floor around the Axial Volcano has dropped by eight feet (2.4 meters), also suggesting magma movement.
The Axial Seamount is part of a string of volcanoes spread along the edge of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the border of the Juan de Fuca Plate. While the plate has been the cause of massive earthquakes in the past, and is a present source of concern, the Axial Seamount has erupted in 1998 and again in 2011 without causing any significant earthquakes.
Geologists are uncertain about how the various active volcanic areas along the US west coast interact, but it is not believed that volcanic activity along the Juan de Fuca Ridge is related to magma movement under Yellowstone. If there are larger scale connections, they are little understood, however it has been speculated for years that volcanic activity around the Pacific Rim may run in cycles, but this has never been proven.
Scientists have been concerned about the stability of the Juan de Fuca plate for years, as Unknowncountry has been reporting. Additionally, the Yellowstone Supervolcano has been an increasing source of concern, as earthquake activity in the area continues to suggest magma movement, and now the magma pool under the area has been discovered to be far larger than previously believed. In January of 2014, scientists announced that the threat of a Yellowstone eruption was greater than thought, and unusual surface activity prompted park officials to announce last August that no volcanic activity was, in fact, taking place there. Were the Yellowstone Supervolcano to become active, much of the United States would become unlivable due to ash fall, and an area within a thousand miles of the caldera would be at immediate risk of destruction.
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