A decade of volcanic construction and destruction at the summit of NW Rota-1 seamount: 2004-2014

Susan R. Schnur*, William W. Chadwick, Robert W. Embley, Vicki L. Ferrini, Cornel E J de Ronde, Katharine V. Cashman, Nicholas D. Deardorff, Susan G. Merle, Robert P. Dziak, Joe H. Haxel, Haru Matsumoto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Arc volcanoes are important to our understanding of submarine volcanism because at some sites frequent eruptions cause them to grow and collapse on human timescales. This makes it possible to document volcanic processes. Active submarine eruptions have been observed at the summit of NW Rota-1 in the Mariana Arc. We use remotely operated vehicle videography and repeat high-resolution bathymetric surveys to construct geologic maps of the summit of NW Rota-1 in 2009 and 2010 and relate them to the geologic evolution of the summit area over a 10 year period (2004–2014). We find that 2009 and 2010 were characterized by different eruptive styles, which affected the type and distribution of eruptive deposits at the summit. Year 2009 was characterized by ultraslow extrusion and autobrecciation of lava at a single eruptive vent, producing a large cone of blocky lava debris. In 2010, higher-energy explosive eruptions occurred at multiple closely spaced vents, producing a thin blanket of pebble-sized tephra overlying lava flow outcrops. A landslide that occurred between 2009 and 2010 had a major effect on lithofacies distribution by removing the debris cone and other unconsolidated deposits, revealing steep massive flow cliffs. This relatively rapid alternation between construction and destruction forms one end of a seamount growth and mass wasting spectrum. Intraplate seamounts, which tend to grow larger than arc volcanoes, experience collapse events that are orders of magnitude larger and much less frequent than those occurring at subduction zone settings. Our results highlight the interrelated cyclicity of eruptive activity and mass wasting at submarine arc volcanoes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1558–1584
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume122
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Arc volcanoes
  • Hydrothermal systems
  • NW Rota-1
  • Subaqueous volcanism
  • Submarine volcanism
  • Volcanic lithofacies

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