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Historical Records Seem to Confirm That Quakes Can Trigger Volcanoes

October 29, 1998

Historical records appear to confirm what many scientists have always suspected--large earthquakes can trigger volcanic eruptions. A study of records dating to the 1500s found a statistical link between the two, seismologists Alan T. Linde and I. Selwyn Sacks of the Carnegie Institution of Washington report in today's issue of Nature. Although the exact mechanism is not known, an earthquake may cause bubbles to rise from the bottom of reservoirs of molten rock, or magma chambers, increasing the pressure that leads to an eruption, Linde said.

Linde and Sacks reviewed 204 quakes with magnitudes of more than 8, and found that eight quakes appeared to have triggered eruptions, some triggering more than one. The researchers also compared earthquakes with magnitudes between 7.0 and 7.9 and found nine eruptions in the two days following such earthquakes.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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