Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 23 Issue 01

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Volume 23, No. 1
Pages 182 - 183

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Northwest Rota-1 Seamount is the first place on Earth where a submarine volcanic eruption was witnessed in 2004, and, remarkably, it appears that the volcano has been erupting continuously ever since. NW Rota-1 is located ~ 100 km north of Guam in the western Pacific, within the newly designated Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (http://www.fws.gov/marianastrenchmarinemonument). With a summit depth of 520 m, it is a symmetrical cone of basaltic andesite composition (Figure 1) formed in the subduction zone setting of the Mariana volcanic arc. It was identified as a site of particular interest in 2003 when sampling of its overlying hydrothermal plume showed very high magmatic volatile input (Resing et al., 2007). Consequently, it was one of several seamounts targeted for dives with a remotely operated vehicle the following year. During these dives, an actively erupting vent was discovered at a depth of 550 m; lava, fluid, and gas samples were collected; and colonies of shrimp, limpets, and crabs (some of them new species) were found living in the volcano summit’s harsh conditions (Embley et al., 2006; Limén et al., 2006).


Chadwick, W.W., R.W. Embley, E.T. Baker, J.A. Resing, J.E. Lupton, K.V. Cashman, R.P. Dziak, V. Tunnicliffe, D.A. Butterfield, and Y. Tamura. 2010. Spotlight 10: Northwest Rota-1 Seamount. Oceanography 23(1):182–183, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2010.82.


Butterfield, D.A., K.K. Roe, J.A. Resing, W.W. Chadwick Jr., R.W. Embley, and J.E. Lupton. 2009. Chemical properties and hydrothermal processes on the first two directly sampled deep-sea eruptions. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 90(52, Fall Meeting Supplement), Abstract V43I-06.

Chadwick, W.W. Jr., K.V. Cashman, R.W. Embley, H. Matsumoto, R.P. Dziak, C.E.J. de Ronde, T.-K. Lau, N. Deardorff, and S.G. Merle. 2008. Direct video and hydrophone observations of submarine explosive eruptions at NW Rota-1 Volcano, Mariana Arc. Journal of Geophysical Research 113, B08S10, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007JB005215.

Embley, R.W., W.W. Chadwick Jr., E.T. Baker, D.A. Butterfield, J.A. Resing, C.E.J. De Ronde, V. Tunnicliffe, J.E. Lupton, S.K. Juniper, K.H. Rubin, and others. 2006. Long-term eruptive activity at a submarine arc volcano. Nature 441:494–497.

Limén, H., S.K. Juniper, V. Tunnicliffe, and M. Clément. 2006. Benthic community structure on two peaks of an erupting seamount: Northwest Rota-1 Volcano, Mariana Arc, western Pacific. Cahiers de Biologie Marine 47:457–463.

Resing, J.A., G. Lebon, E.T. Baker, J.E. Lupton, R.W. Embley, G.J. Massoth, W.W. Chadwick Jr., and C.E.J. de Ronde. 2007. Venting of acid-sulfate fluids in a high-sulfidation setting at NW Rota-1 submarine volcano on the Mariana Arc. Economic Geology 102:1,047–1,061.

Walker, S.L., E.T. Baker, J.A. Resing, W.W. Chadwick Jr., G.T. Lebon, J.E. Lupton, and S.G. Merle. 2008. Eruption-fed particle plumes and volcaniclastic deposits at a submarine volcano: NW-Rota-1, Mariana Arc. Journal of Geophysical Research 113, B08S11, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007JB005441.

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