Pleasant Valley High School (CA) (Geology)

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A Selection of Questions from Skype on Monday Sept 9 with Dr.Bill Chadwick of Oregon State University and Dr. Scott Nooner and graduate student Elisa Baumgardt of University of North Carolina, Wilmington:

1. How big are earthquakes at Axial Seamount?
Bill Chadwick: Earthquakes at Axial Seamount are usually about magnitude 4.0 which is relatively small, compared to subduction zone earthquakes. On the ocean floor, earthquakes are measured by Ocean Bottom Hydrophones (OBH) which detect the earthquakes and records them.

2. Why is the ROV called Jason?
Jason is named after the Greek warrior who was tested with multiple tasks in order to retrieve the Golden Fleece. The sorceress Medea helped Jason with the tasks, just as the ROV Jason and Medea team work together to collect samples and data from the ocean floor.

3. What is the location of Axial Seamount?
Axial Seamount is located at 46°N latitude and 130°W longitude, along the Juan de Fuca Ridge, approximately 300 miles west of the coast of Oregon. Axial Seamount is a hot spot volcano, similar to (but smaller than) the Hawaiian hot spot and the Juan de Fuca Ridge is a divergent plate boundary (spreading center) between the westward moving Pacific Plate and the eastward moving Juan de Fuca plate.

4. What are your science specialties?
Bill: I am a geologist who specializes in volcanology at Oregon State University and have been studying volcanoes since I first started volunteering at Mount St. Helens after it erupted in 1980. Scott: I have degrees in physics and geophysics and use both to understand the deformation of the ocean floor when magma is injected into the magma chamber at Axial Volcano.