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Volcanoes and Earth’s Interior Research Center (VERC)

Exploration of oceanic volcanism
–From local volcanism to global-scale dynamics–

Submarine and ocean island volcanoes, including those which exist around Japan, have occasionally produced large explosive eruptions and caused catastrophic disasters and threat to human lives. Such explosive eruptions have even been suggested to have triggered environmental changes, such as global cooling, in the past. In order to forecast their occurrence and evaluate their impacts on the environment and society, there is a growing demand to monitor the current state of activities of these oceanic volcanoes, which are mostly poorly surveyed and studied. Moreover, it is important to evaluate magma accumulation and pre-eruption processes that occur beneath volcanoes, to investigate the geological record of past eruptions, and to elucidate the occurrence and transport of heat, magmas, and fluids in the crust and mantle as the manifestation of the dynamic processes in the Earth’s interior. To address these issues, VERC aims to unravel the present state of oceanic volcanoes and the mechanisms of their explosive volcanic activities through time by conducting geochemical studies, geophysical observations, and geological surveys using research vessels, including our Deep-sea Scientific Drilling Vessel CHIKYU. Furthermore, VERC investigates the physical and chemical processes in the Earth’s interior, which are closely linked to surface volcanic activities, via studies of oceanic volcanoes. State-of-the-art techniques of numerical simulations, geochemical measurements, and data analyses will be applied to explore not only the processes of magma generation and supply systems leading to oceanic volcanism on a local scale, but also the cycling of materials and energy between the Earth’s surface and interior on a global scale.

Shuichi Kodaira
Director, Volcanoes and Earth’s Interior Research Center (VERC)

Volcanoes and Earth’s Interior Research Center (VERC) website has been launched.