(ORDO NEWS) — For more than four millennia, the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii has not erupted. Perhaps, soon the countdown will start anew: scientists are worried about the swarm of earthquakes right under the giant, reports the journal Science.
The activity of the volcano was recorded by chance: experts studied a new method of tracking the level of seismic activity in the area of the Kilauea volcano, later they decided to test it on other giants. The method involves round-the-clock scanning of seismometer data and searching for similar signals on instruments.
As it turned out, deep earthquakes occur under Maunakea with a frequency of 7-12 minutes. Conventional seismic analysis methods have proven ineffective due to machine noise and occasional earthquakes.
Tremors occur at a depth of 25 kilometers. It is interesting that the instability of the region has been observed since 1999: then scientists established a seismological station between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
Only after a long period of time was it possible to find out that earthquakes are not the result of tectonic shifts, but volcanic activity.
Volcanoes often trigger low-frequency earthquakes, but scientists have never seen them last for several decades and recur every ten minutes. Over the entire period, experts counted more than a million shocks with an average force of three points.
A more detailed analysis showed that fluids move above the magma chamber. The liquid, getting into some crack, presses on it and thereby breaks the seal. Most likely, seismic activity is created by magmatic gases that behave like a liquid.
The fluid flow is created by cooling the magma, which may not even rise up. Thus, scientists see no reason for panic, but they do not rule out any turn of events, because the processes under the volcano have not been sufficiently studied.
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