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The volcano domino effect? 13 August 2008

Posted by admin in Alaska, blogs, Cleveland, eruptions, Kasatochi, Okmok, United States.
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Three volcanoes are currently active in the Aleutian Islands: Okmok, Cleveland and Kasatochi. Chris Rowan at Highly Allocthonous ponders on this near-simultaneous eruption of three volcanoes in the same neighbourhood in an interesting post and asks. ‘Could the eruption of one have triggered the others?’ Answer: ‘no’. Disappointing news for volcanic chain-reaction catastrophists everywhere.

The Volcanism Blog


1. george wohanka - 16 August 2008

Very quick to answer no.

At one time it was stated that strong earthquakes in one part of the world had no impact and could not have any relationship to quakes elsewhere.

Now the answer seems to be that they might.

Rather than just saying no, it would have much more interesting if you had pandered to the ignorant among us and explained why not.

How would one prove that the eruption of the three Aleutian volcanoes were not all triggered by the same underground activity common to their location?

This is not quite the same as saying that the eruption of the first triggered the eruption of the second, etc. But that is what some think of as triggering.

2. Scott - 16 August 2008

The only way they could seemingly be connected would be if they were connected to one single magma chamber…which of course would put the whole chain into the super volcano type of status..and I would think if that were the case we would be seeing more than three “vents” erupting..it would be active thoughout the whole chain!
Just my thoughts….comments?

3. volcanism - 16 August 2008

George, please read the post and you’ll see that I’m reporting Chris Rowan’s answer ‘no’, not hastening to give the answer ‘no’ myself. So perhaps your remarks would be best directed to Chris. Having said that, I’m happy to go along with his negative response.

My own non-expert view is that those who think there might be a connection in the Aleutian case have it all to prove. If there’s some kind of ‘underground activity’ behind all three eruptions surely there should be some other evidence of it – significant earthquakes perhaps? And Scott’s point is a good one: why only these three volcanoes erupting? Why aren’t any of the volcanoes between Kasatochi and Cleveland erupting, nor the ones between Cleveland and Okmok? This mysterious unified subterranean force seems to be highly selective in its operation – so selective one wonders what the point is in invoking it.

It seems to me that there’s nothing happening in the Aleutians that can’t be explained by established theories of island arc volcanism.

4. george wohanka - 17 August 2008

I now understand you werereporting Rowan’s view.

I did find this interesting. Reporting on Chaiten the strongest tremor or quake was 7 k.m. to the northeast of Chaiten. Minchinmavida lies to the north east but that is not the same as seeing the location on a map. The tremor was of the type that may be caused by the movement of magma. It was unusual in that most of the quakes were smaller and nearer to Chaieten to the south. Since no distance given one might correctly or incorrectly assume that the distance was not significant but that 7 k.m. was considered worth mentioning.

The point being that if Minchinmavida does erupt the L.P. quake related to Chaieten may prove to be an early indication that activity at one volcano may have some meaning for nearby volcanos.

Not saying that is the case, just that it is an interesting subject and worth learning about.

El día 10 se registraron 12 sismos de tipo
VT, seis de ellos con magnitudes que bordearon los 1,5 grados. Así también, el día 11 se
contabilizó 15 sismos de tipo VT, 3 de ellos con magnitudes que bordearon los 2,0 grados. Cabe
destacar que en ambos días también se registraron sismos de tipo LP (uno a dos por horas), sin
embargo sus magnitudes prácticamente no sobresalieron del tremor de fondo. Con relación a sus
localizaciones, al igual que los sismos ubicados en días anteriores, más del 90% se localizaron en
el sector sur del volcán. Sin embargo, el mayor de estos sismos, de magnitud 2,0 registrado la
noche del día 10, se ubicó unos 7 km al nornoreste de la caldera del Chaitén, a una profundidad
de 3 km.

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