Charley Hill-Butler – Favourable Conditions that Influence Relationships Between Earthquakes and Volcanic Activity

Hi All,I’m Charley, a research student at Coventry. I have just finished the first year of my PhD (passed my PRP yesterday!) investigating the relationship between earthquakes and volcanic activity.After completing my Masters by Research which looked at the statistical relationship between earthquakes and volcanic activity, I realised that the relationship was much more complex than just the magnitude of theearthquake or the distance between responding volcano and triggering earthquake. Based on this, I have designed my PhD as a continuation to this research aiming to explore the favourable conditions that influence the relationship and infer mechanisms of response.Interestingly, since 1950 all large earthquakes (M>9.0) have been followed by volcanic eruptions in the following year. Barren Island volcano, in particular, exhibited new volcanic activity following the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake, and yet, before this event, there was no activity at this volcano for a decade. With the increasing significance of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, therefore, the possible relationship may have serious implications for the identification of precursors, volcanic hazard assessment and early warning.Using the relatively new availability of MODVOLC data (which I am using as a proxy for volcanic activity), my research aims to investigate the thermal response of volcanoes to earthquakes. Firstly, I am going to examine the global response of volcanoes to earthquakes to establish if there are significantly more eruptions in the year following large seismic events e.g. 2004 Boxing Day earthquake, 2010 Chile earthquake and 2011 Japan earthquake. Based on this, I am going to identify a number of triggered and non-triggered events to identify conditions which trigger a response. Depending on these results, the final stages of my research will design and develop a range of conceptual and forecast models so that mechanisms of response can be proposed and future events can be forecast.

As I have already completed the first year of my PhD, my research is well underway! There are a number of factors, or “favourable conditions”, that I have identified to examine and I am currently conducting my pilot study which is looking at the global relationship, so as soon as I have some results from that I will post them on here!

You can also follow my personal research blog at

Coventry University

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