(Credit: Getty Images)
Signals associated with tidal cycles could potentially provide advanced warning of certain types of volcanic eruptions.
“…tides could provide a probe for telling us whether or not a volcano has entered a critical state…”
A new study shows that just before a surprise eruption of New Zealand’s Ruapehu volcano in 2007, seismic tremors near its crater became tightly correlated with twice-monthly changes in the strength of tidal forces.
“Looking at data for this volcano spanning about 12 years, we found that this correlation between the amplitude of seismic tremor and tidal cycles developed only in the three months before this eruption,” says Társilo Girona, a NASA postdoctoral fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the research during a postdoctoral appointment at Brown University.
“What that suggests is that the tides could provide a probe for telling us whether or not a volcano has entered a critical state,” Girona explains.