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Can earthquakes trigger volcanic eruptions?

Sometimes, yes. A few large regional earthquakes (greater than magnitude 6) are considered to be related to a subsequent eruption or to some type of unrest at a nearby volcano. However, volcanoes can only be triggered into eruption by nearby tectonic earthquakes if they are already poised to erupt. This requires two conditions to be met:

  1. Enough "eruptible" magma within the volcanic system. 
  2. Significant pressure within the magma storage region.

If those conditions exist, it's possible that large tectonic earthquakes might cause dissolved gases to come out of the magma (like a shaken soda bottle), increasing the pressure and possibly leading to an eruption.

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