Geologic history of the summit of Axial Seamount, Juan de Fuca Ridge

David A. Clague, Brian M. Dreyer, Jennifer B. Paduan, Julie F. Martin, William W. Chadwick, David W. Caress, Ryan A. Portner, Thomas P. Guilderson, Mary L. McGann, Hans Thomas, David A. Butterfield, Robert W. Embley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Multibeam (1 m resolution) and side scan data collected from an autonomous underwater vehicle, and lava samples, radiocarbon-dated sediment cores, and observations of flow contacts collected by remotely operated vehicle were combined to reconstruct the geologic history and flow emplacement processes on Axial Seamount's summit and upper rift zones. The maps show 52 post-410 CE lava flows and 20 precaldera lava flows as old as 31.2 kyr, the inferred age of the caldera. Clastic deposits 1-2 m thick accumulated on the rims postcaldera. Between 31 ka and 410 CE, there are no known lava flows near the summit. The oldest postcaldera lava (410 CE) is a pillow cone SE of the caldera. Two flows erupted on the W rim between ∼800 and 1000 CE. From 1220 to 1300 CE, generally small eruptions of plagioclase phyric, depleted, mafic lava occurred in the central caldera and on the east rim. Larger post-1400 CE eruptions produced inflated lobate flows of aphyric, less-depleted, and less mafic lava on the upper rift zones and in the N and S caldera. All caldera floor lava flows, and most uppermost rift zone flows, postdate 1220 CE. Activity shifted from the central caldera to the upper S rift outside the caldera, to the N rift and caldera floor, and then to the S caldera and uppermost S rift, where two historical eruptions occurred in 1998 and 2011. The average recurrence interval deduced from the flows erupted over the last 800 years is statistically identical to the 13 year interval between historical eruptions. Key Points All 35 lava flows inside the caldera erupted within the last 800 years More primitive and depleted lavas erupted only from 700-800 years ago The summit caldera formed ~31 kyr ago

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4403-4443
Number of pages41
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Axial Seamount
  • geologic
  • Juan de Fuca Ridge
  • lava flows
  • mapping


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