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Volcano tectonic earthquake

A volcano tectonic earthquake is an earthquake induced by the movement (injection or withdrawal) of magma.[1] The movement results in pressure changes in the rock around where the magma has experienced stress. At some point, the rock may break or move. The earthquakes may also be related to dike intrusion and may occur as earthquake swarms.[2] An example is the 2007–2008 Nazko earthquake swarm in central British Columbia, Canada.

Nevado del Ruiz during the 1985 eruption. This eruption was one where seismic activity was monitored in order to determine that an eruption was imminent.

Volcano tectonic seismicity is an important tool in being able to predict the eruptions of Volcanoes. Seismic activity occurs as a precursor to most large eruptions. We can use tectonic events to predict eruptions in long-dormant volcanoes.[3] Some notable examples of volcanoes preceded by volcano tectonics include Nevado del Ruiz (1985), Unzen (1990), Pinatubo (1991), and Cotopaxi (2002). Volcano tectonic characteristics happen in near real time with magmatic intrusion.

Other types of seismic activity related to volcanoes and their eruptions are long-period seismic waves, which are from the sudden sporadic movement of magma, which is prevented from moving due to a blockage. Another is a harmonic tremor, which is steady movement of magma, deep in the mantle.


  1. ^ Lahr, J. C.; Chouet, B. A.; Stephens, C. D.; Power, J. A.; Page, R. A. (1994). "Earthquake classification, location, and error analysis in a volcanic environment: implications for the magmatic system of the 1989–1990 eruptions at Redoubt Volcano, Alaska" (PDF). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 62 (1–4): 137–151. Bibcode:1994JVGR...62..137L. doi:10.1016/0377-0273(94)90031-0.
  2. ^ Roman, D. C.; Cashman, K. V. (2006). "The origin of volcano-tectonic earthquake swarms". Geology. 34 (6): 457–460. Bibcode:2006Geo....34..457R. doi:10.1130/G22269.1.
  3. ^ White, Randall; McCausland, Wendy (2016-01-01). "Volcano-tectonic earthquakes: A new tool for estimating intrusive volumes and forecasting eruptions". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 309: 139–155. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.10.020. ISSN 0377-0273.