Triggering of volcanic degassing by large earthquakes

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© 2017 Geological Society of America. Statistical analysis of temporal relationships between large earthquakes (Mw ≥ 7) and volcanic eruptions suggests that seismic waves may trigger eruptions over great (> 1000 km) distances from the epicenter, but a robust relationship between volcanic and teleseismic activity remains elusive. Here we investigate the relationship between dynamic stresses propagated by surface waves and a volcanic response, manifested by changes in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions measured by the spaceborne Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). Surface wave amplitudes for a catalog of 69 earthquakes in A.D. 2004-2010 are modeled at 12 persistently degassing volcanoes detected by the OMI. The volcanic response is assessed by examining daily OMI SO2 measurements in 28 day windows centered on earthquakes meeting a variable peak dynamic stress threshold. A positive volcanic response is identified if the average post-earthquake SO2 mass was at least 20% larger than the pre-earthquake SO2 mass. We find two distinct volcanic responses, correlating strongly with eruption style. Open-vent, basaltic volcanoes exhibit a positive response to earthquake-generated dynamic stress (i.e., the earthquake triggers increased SO2 discharge), and andesitic volcanoes exhibit a negative response. We suggest that the former is consistent with disruption or mobilization of bubbles, or magma sloshing, in low-viscosity magmas, whereas the latter observation may reflect more dominant controls on degassing in viscous magmas or a post-earthquake reduction in permeability. Overall this analysis suggests that the potential effects of large earthquakes should be taken into account when interpreting trends in volcanic gas emissions.

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