Bombay Beach/San Andreas earthquake swarm: Arglebargle or Fooforall?
The Salton Sea earthquake swarm: likely tectonic, but magma-related seismicity is not that far-fetched.
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
Image courtesy of the Southern California Earthquake Center
I have to admit, I've only been perpherially following the earthquake swarm currently going on in Southern California, near the end of one of the strands of the San Andreas fault out below the Salton Sea (see the bottom of the map above). The "Bombay Beach" swarm (as I'll call it ... beats me what most people are calling it) is being closely monitored by the USGS. However, from what I had heard from a friend of mine with a more structure/tectonics background, looked like tectonic quakes with "beachball focal mechanism solutions" that were dominantly strike-slip following the regional trends. Heck, there is even some sense that we can "see" the motion caused by the swarm, and this stretch of the fault hasn't had a major earthquake since 1680.
However, Eruptions reader Thomas Donlon sent me a link to the Arizona Geology blog today that suggest that the earthquakes might be magma related - I stress might. A 3D rendering of the earthquakes from the swarm - all between 0.1 and 4.8 on the Richter Scale - are reminiscent of what you might expect from magma movement and cooling.
** WARNING : SPECULATION AHEAD **
Now, I am no expert in the geology of the area and yes, a strike-slip system is not your typical home for volcanism, but it is not unprecedented. Volcanism can occur in "pull apart" areas along a strike-slip fault where the fault, similar to the situation with the San Andreas near the Salton Sea. Also, evidence of magmatism have been seen before in that area of the fault system. The Salton Sea area is no stranger to volcanism as well during the Quaternary along with the Salton Sea geothermal field. So, it wouldn't be out of the question that these swarms might be magma moving/intruding under the Salton Sea. Now, if (and I stress if) an eruption were to take place, I'm not entirely sure what form it might take: rhyolite domes like the Salton Buttes, cinder cones like the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Arizona, beats me. However, it is an interesting prospect to think that volcanism might occur in southern California.
I'm not saying this swarm means an eruption is likely to happen, or even possible based on the earthquake data collected so far, but I thought I would mention that it is possible. Feel free to add your two cents and correct my speculation. Interesting stuff, no doubt.
Are university safe spaces killing intellectual growth?
Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.
- Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
- Time travel may be possible.
- Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.
- Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
- But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
- Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
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