Quantcast
Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT
Mini Earthquakes Provides Clues to Volcanic Behavior Image 3
64 of 3476

Mini Earthquakes Provides Clues to Volcanic Behavior (Image 3)

February 20, 2014
A small explosion from the Fuego volcano located 20 miles west of Guatemala City. Open vent volcanoes such as this one constantly pop with small eruptions, which cause low-level, low-frequency earthquakes, but usually pose little risk. Scientists are studying the earthquakes to learn important clues about volcanic behavior and, ultimately, better ways to predict when major eruptions might occur. Greg Waite, an assistant professor of geological and mining engineering and sciences at Michigan Technological University, is conducting his research on Fuego and Pacaya, another open vent volcano just south of Guatemala City, under a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. By understanding the behavior of these mini-earthquakes, he hopes to collect more details about the behavior of all eruptions, including information about the shape of volcanic plumbing systems and the dynamics that result in eruptions. "We can apply what we learn about these small, repetitive events to other active volcanoes that are capable of large, damaging eruptions," says Greg Waite, an assistant professor of geological and mining engineering and sciences at Michigan Technological University. "We are trying to get a better handle on what these little earthquakes mean so we can better forecast major eruptions." (Date of Image: January 2008/January 2009) Credit: Greg Waite, Michigan Tech