Researchers and scientists reportedly created a 3D map of a massive underwater volcano off the Oregon coast for the first time this summer.
Fifty scientists, researchers and students with Columbia University’s Lamon-Doherty Earth Observatory spent 33 days in July and August aboard a 235-foot research vessel in order to 3D map the Axial Seamount volcano, according to the New York Times, with a goal of viewing the volcano in a way that hadn’t been done before.
The Axial Seamount is an underwater volcano 300 miles off the Oregon Coast. It has erupted three times since it was discovered in 1981. Previously, scientists had only 2D images of the volcano.
The research vessel was carrying cables needed for the mapping and had to be carefully towed so they wouldn’t drift or become entangled.
The expedition’s principal investigator Adrien Arnulf, a seismologist at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Times that the volcano’s base is so large it could cover the entire city of Austin. The magma reservoir is two-thirds the length of Manhattan.
The volcano is remote and deep enough that it is unlikely to cause anyone harm. The scientists wanted a better picture of it, however. The next eruption is predicted to be in 2020 or 2021.