Can earthquakes trigger volcanic eruptions?
Sometimes, yes. A few historic large regional earthquakes (greater than magnitude 6) are considered by scientists to be related to a subsequent eruption or to some type of unrest at a nearby volcano. The exact triggering mechanism for these historic examples is not well understood, but the volcanic activity probably occurs in response to a change in the local pressure surrounding the magma reservoir system as a consequence of (1) severe ground shaking caused by the earthquake; or (2) a change in the "strain" or pressure in the Earth's crust in the region surrounding where the earthquake occurred.
For example, on November 29, 1975, a large magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck the Big Island of Hawaii at 4:48 a.m. It was centered about 28 kilometers southeast of Kilauea Volcano's summit caldera at a depth of 5 kilometers; the earthquake occurred within the volcano's south flank. The earthquake was preceded by numerous foreshocks, the largest of which was a 5.7 magnitude jolt at 3:36 a.m. the same morning, and was accompanied, or closely followed, by a tsunami, massive ground movements, hundreds of aftershocks, and a short-lived eruption in Kilauea's summit caldera.
The eruption began at 5:32 a.m. from a 500-meter long fissure on the caldera floor and ended by 10:00 p.m. According to scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the eruptive activity "was apparently triggered by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake." The small volume and brief duration of the eruption suggest that the shallow magma might not have reached the surface under its own buoyant energy without a triggering mechanism apparently provided by the violent ground shaking.
No. Through plate tectonics, the eastern U.S. has been isolated from the global tectonic features (tectonic plate boundaries and hot spots in the mantle), that cause volcanic activity. So new volcanic activity is not possible now or in the near future. If you wait around several hundred million years, maybe......Read Full Answer
The United States ranks third, behind Indonesia and Japan, in the number of historically active volcanoes (that is, those for which we have written accounts of eruptions). In addition, about 10 percent of the more than 1,500 volcanoes that have erupted in the past 10,000 years are located in the United States....Read Full Answer
There are many paths to becoming a volcanologist. Most include a college or graduate school education in a scientific or technical field, but the range of specialties is very large. Training in geology, geophysics, geochemistry, biology, biochemistry, mathematics, statistics, engineering, atmospheric science, remote sensing...Read Full Answer
More than 80 percent of the Earth's surface -- above and below sea level -- is of volcanic origin. Gaseous emissions from volcanic vents over hundreds of millions of years formed the Earth's earliest oceans and atmosphere, which supplied the ingredients vital to evolve and sustain life. Over geologic eons, countless...Read Full Answer
Volcanoes that have produced exceedingly voluminous pyroclastic eruptions and formed large calderas in the past 2 million years include Yellowstone, Long Valley in eastern California, Toba in Indonesia, and Taupo in New Zealand. Other 'supervolcanoes' would likely include the large caldera volcanoes of Japan, Indonesia,...Read Full Answer
3 Satellites, 2 Volcanoes, 1 Stunning Series: This Week's EarthView!
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s 1912–2012 Centennial—100 Years of Tracking Eruptions and Earthquakes
HAWAI‘I ISLAND, Hawaii —The history of earthquakes and seismic monitoring in Hawai‘i during the past century will be the topic of a presentation at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Thursday, January 26, at 7:00 p.m.
Early morning view of the open lava channel during helicopter overflight of the lower East Rift Zone.
Lava continues to erupt at a high rate from Fissure 8 and flow within the established channel to the ocean. No channel overflows were observed during this morning's overflight. The fountains have built a horseshoe-shaped cone as lava fragments are intermittently hurled onto and over the growing rim. Lava exiting the cone forms a series of standing waves in the uppermost section of the channel.
A UAS mission on June 13, 2018, filmed details of the dramatic changes occurring within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit since explosive eruptions of ash and gas and ongoing wall collapse began in mid-May. The video shows steep crater walls that continue to slump inward and downward in response to the ongoing subsidence of the summit area. This video was taken from a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). Limited UAS flights into this hazardous area are conducted with permission and in coordination with Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The video is used to assess hazards at the summit and the information is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.
Landsat Mosaic of Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes on Hawaii.
On May 2, 2008, Chaitén volcano in Chile erupted with an ash column that rose to about 17 km and lasted for 6 hours. Photograph Credit: Jeff Marso, USGS
21 January 2014 Lava Lake Spattering at Halema'uma'u Crater The lava lake in the Overlook crater, within Halema'uma'u Crater at Kilauea's summit, undergoes frequent periods of spattering. The spattering is normally at the lake margins, and the surface crust often flows towards, and is consumed at, the spattering source. Large bubbles bursting at the surface drive the spattering activity, as shown occasionally by large spherical bursts.
A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06. This photo was taken during a FLIR/maintenance flight on January 24, 2006.