Caltech’s Thomas Ader indicates that seasonal weather patterns can play a role in seismic and volcanic activity. He presented findings of his studies on December 8, 2011 this year’s American Geophysicist Union conference in San Francisco. Below are a few highlights gleaned from a Science News article, which covered his talk (e.g. Powell and Witze 2011).
In the Himalayas, monsoon water weight dampens seismicity for a few months
- Earthquake instances drop during the rainy summer months
- Earthquake activity rebounds as the dry out after the summer
REASON: the water’s weight bends the Earth’s crust slightly,
- Which may slightly ease stress on faults
- Which might incubate earthquakes over the next few months
- As the land dries and rebounds, the number of earthquakes increase towards winter
Iceland experiences a summer increase in earthquakes
- Ice caps atop volcanoes melt during summer
- Weight decreases, altering stress inside mountain
- Increase in volcanic and earthquake activity during summer
- Most recent eruptions: 1918, 1955, 1999, and possibly 2011
- All recent eruptions occurred between May and November
- Katla experiences more summer earthquakes in summer than winter
NOTE: Most seismic and volcanic is not weather-related, according to the article.
To read entire Science News article about the presentation, click on the reference’s hyperlink below:
Powell, Devin and Alexandra Witze
2011 Weather Affects Timing of Some Natural Hazards. Science News (published online on December 12, 2011 or earlier: December 31, 2011 issue: 180:8). Electronic document, http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/336856/title/Weather_affects_timing_of_some_natural_hazards, accessed December 17, 2011.
Weather Affects Seismic and Volcanic Activity (On Occasion) by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License