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Blowin' in the Wind, Issue #057 Volcano and Earthquake introduction. - August 1, 2008
July 30, 2008
A Short Volcano and Earthquake Introduction
This volcano and earthquake introduction shall serve as a springboard to understanding major geologic structures and events. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can occur in the same place and around the same time; however, they do not always accompany each other and may occur independently.
So in this volcano and earthquake introduction we will take a look at what causes these events, their effects and their relation to the weather, if any.
Earthquake informationEarthquakes arise from the movement of tectonic plates beneath the surface of the earth. The plates that make up the Earth’s crust meet at fault lines. And their movement relative to these lines cause the majority of earthquakes.
Therefore it is above the fault lines where the large majority of earthquakes occur. Additionally, volcanic activity can cause earthquakes and these earthquakes can often serve as a warning to the impending volcano eruption of a volcano.
What causes a volcanic eruption?Volcanoes most often take place where the tectonic plates beneath the surface of the Earth move apart. In essence, this creates openings or thinner areas of crust where magma can break through.
You can see then that volcanoes also form near fault lines, where the majority of earthquakes occur. The same movement of tectonic plates that causes an earthquake can cause a volcanic eruption.
At the same time, the movement of magma itself can cause other earthquakes. While most people envision large mountains spewing hot lava and rocks when they think of a volcano, most volcanic activity takes place at the bottom of the ocean.
meteorology and plate tectonics relationship?
Dating back to the ancient Greeks, it was believed that earthquakes were preceded by certain types of weather that could serve as a warning sign. We now know that this is untrue and without scientific basis.
The cause of earthquakes lies far beneath the surface of the Earth and they are not caused or affected by weather. However, an earthquake can alter surface conditions in a manner similar to weather.
An earthquake shaking the ocean floor can cause a tsunami, where mega-waves of water form and devastatingly crash towards islands and nearby landmasses. Somewhat like hurricane surge floodwaters.
Volcanoes can also have an effect on the weather. If a volcanic eruption releases material high into the stratosphere of the planet, this material can have a long term cooling effect. The debris serves as a shield to block incoming sunlight and can lower temperatures in the area. In the case of super eruptions or multiple large eruptions, volcanic effects can even lower temperatures around the entire globe.
The debris can also cause increased rain in the area surrounding the volcanic blast. As mentioned above, a volcanic eruption can also cause an earthquake, which in turn can cause a tsunami, leading to a deadly chain reaction of geological events.
Hopefully, this volcano and earthquake introduction has served to enlighten you with a general, broad understanding of both volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. From their sometimes shared locations, you can see volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have a lot in common while still being completely separate geological events.
And while weather does not effect or cause earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, they can lead to tsunamis and can change the weather in the form of cooling effects.
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