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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Deep long-period earthquakes beneath Washington and Oregon volcanoes

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Author(s): Maisie L. Nichols, Stephen D. Malone, Seth C. Moran, Weston A. Thelen, John E. Vidale

Document Type:
Publisher: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Published Year: 2011
Volume: 200
Pages: 116 to 128
DOI Identifier: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.12.005
ISBN Identifier:
Keywords: deep long-period earthquake volcano seismology Cascade volcano eruption forecast low frequency earthquake magma ascent

Deep long-period (DLP) earthquakes are an enigmatic type of seismicity occurring near or beneath volcanoes. They are commonly associated with the presence of magma, and found in some cases to correlate with eruptive activity. To more thoroughly understand and characterize DLP occurrence near volcanoes in Washington and Oregon, we systematically searched the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) triggered earthquake catalog for DLPs occurring between 1980 (when PNSN began collecting digital data) and October 2009. Through our analysis we identified 60 DLPs beneath six Cascade volcanic centers. No DLPs were associated with volcanic activity, including the 1980–1986 and 2004–2008 eruptions at Mount St. Helens. More than half of the events occurred near Mount Baker, where the background flux of magmatic gases is greatest among Washington and Oregon volcanoes. The six volcanoes with DLPs (counts in parentheses) are Mount Baker (31), Glacier Peak (9), Mount Rainier (9), Mount St. Helens (9), Three Sisters (1), and Crater Lake (1). No DLPs were identified beneath Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, or Newberry Volcano, although (except at Hood) that may be due in part to poorer network coverage. In cases where the DLPs do not occur directly beneath the volcanic edifice, the locations coincide with large structural faults that extend into the deep crust. Our observations suggest the occurrence of DLPs in these areas could represent fluid and/or magma transport along pre-existing tectonic structures in the middle crust.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Nichols and others (2011) or (Nichols et al., 2011)

References Citation:
Nichols, M.L., S.D. Malone, S.C. Moran, W.A. Thelen, and J.E. Vidale, 2011, Deep long-period earthquakes beneath Washington and Oregon volcanoes: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Vol. 200, pp. 116-128, doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.12.005.