Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA data show earthquakes may quickly boost regional volcanoes

12.04.2007
Scientists using NASA satellite data have found strong evidence that a major earthquake can lead to a nearly immediate increase in regional volcanic activity.

The intensity of two ongoing volcanic eruptions on Indonesia’s Java Island increased sharply three days following a powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island in May 2006. The increased volcanic activity persisted for about nine days.

"During this period, we found clear evidence that the earthquake caused both volcanoes to release greater amounts of heat, and lava emission surged to two to three times higher than prior to the tremor," said study lead author Andrew Harris, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. The research was recently published in the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters.

While scientists have long debated whether earthquakes can trigger new volcanic eruptions, this study linked an earthquake to enhanced volcanic activity at two ongoing eruptions that were being closely monitored by satellite-based sensors on a daily basis.

At the time of the earthquake, each volcano was being checked for changes in heat output by satellite sensors as part of a routine global "hot spot" monitoring effort that uses near real-time satellite data from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.

Maps of worldwide hot spot activity are created with data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on these satellites, pinpointing locations where surface temperatures are much hotter than their surroundings. The scientists combined these data with other details about the Indonesian volcanoes gathered by the satellites to analyze temperature and lava output rates at both volcanoes over a 35-day period spanning the earthquake.

The two volcanoes, Merapi and Semeru, are about 260 kilometers (162 miles) apart and roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) north and 280 kilometers (174 miles) east of the earthquake epicenter, respectively. Given these distances, the researchers believe underground stresses from the earthquake's seismic waves likely acted to pump magma -- molten rock beneath the surface -- into the conduit to the surface, ultimately increasing eruption rates.

"The responses at Merapi and Semeru lagged about three days behind the triggering earthquake, which may reflect the time it took the change felt by magma residing at deeper levels to be transmitted to the surface," said Harris.

The researchers concluded that regional earthquake events have sufficient power to modify the intensity of activity at ongoing eruptions, although they may not always be able to trigger new volcanic eruptions.

They also noted that the Java earthquake had a significant influence on the volcanoes for a relatively short period of several days, suggesting that catching the effect of a quake on an eruption requires careful observation. "Eruptions must be closely and continuously monitored in the days immediately before, during and after an earthquake if we are to link any earthquake with enhanced volcanic activity," added Harris.

Satellite monitoring may be able to play a predictive role in eruptions, rather than just its more traditional responsive role, according to the study. Instruments on today's advanced satellites are providing new and considerably more data to help scientists better track and understand volcanic eruptions.

"The satellite data we have now -- from MODIS, NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer and the Landsat-7 satellite -- give us fresh insights into the behavior of volcanic systems around the entire globe," said Harris. "This worldwide perspective would not have been possible using ground-based sensors; there are too many unmonitored sectors and periods. We simply could not have uncovered our results without the continuous and global data provided by MODIS."

The researchers are currently reviewing older MODIS hot spot data, which extends back to 2000, to uncover additional earthquake-induced responses at erupting volcanoes in hope of identifying patterns that might be used to build a predictive model for forecasting earthquake-induced changes in activity at erupting volcanoes.

Mike Bettwy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/earthquake_volcano.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
25.04.2017 | Rice University

nachricht New atlas provides highest-resolution imagery of the Polar Regions seafloor
25.04.2017 | British Antarctic Survey

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>