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4/11/2007

NASA Data Show Earthquakes May Quickly Boost Regional Volcanoes

Photo: The Merapi and Semeru volcanoes released plumes of ash and steam on June 8, 2006. The plumes (gray) with Merapi (left) and Semeru (right) are mixed with clouds (white). "Hot spots" (red outlines), where surface temperatures are much hotter than the surroundings, are also shown in this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. (Credit: NASA)
April 10, 2007
Scientists using NASA satellite data have found strong evidence that a major earthquake can lead to a nearly immediate increase in regional volcanic activity. The intensity of two ongoing volcanic eruptions on Indonesia's Java Island increased sharply three days following a powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island in May 2006. The increased volcanic activity persisted for about nine days.

"During this period, we found clear evidence that the earthquake caused both volcanoes to release greater amounts of heat, and lava emission surged to two to three times higher than prior to the tremor," said study lead author Andrew Harris, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. The research was recently published in the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters.
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