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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

4 - Volcanic Earthquakes

Summary

Volcanic (or volcano) earthquakes are those that occur inside volcanoes or close to them. The study of these earthquakes in volcanoes is commonly referred to as volcano seismology. Most earthquakes associated with volcanoes occur at comparatively shallow depths, normally of less than 10 km. They differ from other earthquakes at plate boundaries partly in that volcanic earthquakes commonly occur in swarms, that is, clusters in time and space of many comparatively small and similar-sized earthquakes. Volcanic earthquakes provide information about the state of stress in the volcano and of eventual magma-chamber rupture during unrest periods (e.g. Massa et al., 2016). They also indicate the location and, crudely, the size of magma chambers. When a dike (or an inclined sheet) is injected from a magma chamber, the formation of its propagation path (dike-fracture path) produces earthquakes. Thus, accurate monitoring of earthquakes during such events can be used to map out the propagation path of the dike and help assess the likelihood of the dike (or inclined sheet) reaching the surface, causing an eruption.

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