Lab 4.3 – Applying your knowledge to an actual eruption

Fundamental concept: Apply your knowledge of relationships between earthquakes, bathymetry and volcanoes to an actual eruption.
Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes
Materials needed: none

Now that you’ve thought through magma movements beneath the surface of volcanoes, re-view the following underwater eruption video. Follow the next steps to hypothesize what could be occurring beneath the lithosphere surface during the eruption.

Interpretation Question:

  1. Re-watch the following underwater eruption video used in the introduction to this lab and describe the volcanic activity you observe.

Application Questions:

  1. Hypothesize, with thorough explanations, what you think could be occurring to the seafloor bathymetry as well as below the seafloor based on what you learned from Labs 4.1 and Lab 4.2.
  2. Following discussions about the above two questions, compose your own explanation for your hypothesis that includes evidence from Labs 4.1 & 4.2 and key scientific ideas.

Reflection Question:

  1. What questions do you still have about what drives changes in the seismicity and/or bathymetry over time at Axial Seamount?

Real world applications

Learning about ocean floor eruptions can help scientists understand processes that drive plate tectonics and the interior of the earth, provide critical data on how to protect unique ecosystems, and insights into the causes of tsunamis and land-based destructive eruptions.  In addition, the production of seafloor rock and associated hydrothermal vents support unique communities of organisms.   These delicate ecosystems occur in part from the precipitation of extremely valuable minerals deposited when hydrothermal fluids are emitted from vents associated with volcanic activity at volcanoes and divergent plate boundaries.  Exploration to consider economic methods to mine such valuable resources are currently underway.  The impact of disruptions of these ecosystems are currently uncertain.