Scientists have shown that a major eruption may occur due to rain: the eruption of Kilauea in 2018, followed a long period of heavy rainfall that filled the pore spaces of the host rock and increased pressure in the deep layers of the earth’s crust, which caused seismic activity. In the future, such events may occur more often — the Earth’s climate is changing and scientists predict the occurrence of prolonged periods of extreme precipitation in many parts of the world. The results of a study published in the journal Nature.
There is compelling evidence of the impact of heavy rainfall on seismic activity. However, there was no evidence that their influence may affect the deep layers of the earth’s crust and provoke volcanic activity — they were considered as causes of surface phenomena.
In 2018, the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. It was a multistage and complex: from may around the volcano opened a crack, and in the summer there were a number of explosive eruptions followed by the collapse of the Caldera. The reasons for this seismic activity was not determined.
Jaime Farquharson (Jamie I. Farquharson) and Falk Amelung (Falk Amelung) from the University of Miami drew attention to the fact that the Kilauea eruption was preceded by anomalously thick heavy rains. They lasted 180 days and was very plentiful: for one day only on 14 and 15 April howled 1260 mm of precipitation. Scientists have suggested that due to the high porosity and permeability of rocks could hold a large amount of moisture, and the increased pressure triggered a volcanic eruption.
To test their hypothesis, the experts have studied satellite data TRMM (mission to measure tropical rainfall, which lasted from 1997 to 2015) and GPM (international project on global monitoring of snow and rainfall, which is currently in effect), and also conducted a simulation of the response of the host rock for the infiltration of precipitation.