By Brooks Hays, UPI

SEATTLE, May 1 (UPI) — Just a year ago, a deep sea volcanic eruption might have gone unnoticed (at least, initially). Most everything that happens 300 miles offshore and a mile beneath the ocean surface happens without onlookers.

But just last week, scientists at the University of Washington were able to observe the eruption of Axial Volcano in real time — thanks to a system of high-tech seabed sensors deployed last summer.

“It was an astonishing experience to see the changes taking place 300 miles away with no one anywhere nearby,” John Delaney, a professor of oceanography who helped install the sensors, said in a press release.

“And the data flowed back to land at the speed of light through the fiber-optic cable connected to Pacific City — and from there, to here on campus by the Internet, in milliseconds.”

Last week, as scientists gathered to discuss how the new sensor technology might change the way they do their work, seismic activity began to pick up in the deep northern Pacific. Seismometers went from recording hundreds of quakes per day to picking up thousands.

On April 23, the newly installed sensors recorded a six-foot drop in the center of the volcanic crater.

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