Of Quakes and Climate

Climate, Volcanoes and History

Climate, Volcanoes and History

Regulars here will know that I put up a Quake Report every so often. (Usually when something enough bigger than a “6” happens to get my interest going.) I also frequently mention that there is a historical correlation between more earthquakes, more volcanoes, and Solar Grand Minima. All generally held to be ‘coincidental’ or “anecdotal”…

But now we have a paper published:

Molchanov, O. 2010. About climate-seismicity coupling from correlation analysis. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 10: 299-304.

There is a summary evaluation of it at:


O. Molchanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of the Physics of the Earth — which is headquartered in Moscow, Russia — makes a case for the hypothesis that, at least partially, global climate changes and corresponding activity indices such as the ENSO phenomenon are induced by similar variations in seismicity.

This was done by (1) calculating the cumulative annual seismic energy released by large earthquake events originating from depths of 0 to 38 km, based on data archived by the U.S. Geological Survey for the 35-year time interval of 1973-2008 for various earthquake activity zones spread across the tropical and western Pacific — including the Chilean subduction zone, the Tonga-Kermadec zone, the Sunda, Philippine, Solomon Sea zones and the Mariana, Japan and Kuril-Kamchatka zones — and (2) comparing the then-evident periodicity of seismic energy production with that of sea surface temperature oscillations that occurred over the same 35-year period within the Niño zones 1+2 (0-10°S, 90-80°W), 3 (5°N-5°S, 150-90°W), and 4 (5°N-5°S, 160°E-150°W).

And what did they find?

In concluding his paper, Molchanov states that “trends in the climate and seismic variations are similar to each other,” and that “it is rather probable that the climate ENSO effect is at least partially induced by seismicity with a time lag of about 1.5 years,” leaving it up to others to further study and debate the issue.

Full article here:


Both Hemispheres

Where no one place stands out, but there is just what looks like a lot of smaller to medium stuff all over the place.

A view of Earthquakes from the South Pole

A view of Earthquakes from the South Pole

Original Image with Clickable Details

North Polar Earthquake Map

North Polar Earthquake Map

Original Image with Clickable Details

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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8 Responses to Of Quakes and Climate

  1. peter geany says:

    I’m very interested in this subject as it is just another indication that we don’t really have any real understanding of what drives our climate, but that this is just another factor which perhaps has more of a correlation than CO2. I am surprised though that possibly the largest eruption of recent times is not mentioned on the chart from that often overlook Super Volcano, namely Taupo in New Zealand. Buy my calculation it occurred in the middle of the Roman warming, and should it occur today that eruption would completely devastate half the north Island of New Zealand

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve been to Taupo. Great place to visit and a very nice set of warm springs et. al.

    Though it did give me a bit of the creeps to realize that the relatives in Auckland might have a bit of trouble getting off the island if it started to rumble again… I’d be willing to live there, but only if I had a fast boat or a private plane…

    I’m near “Long Valley” (aka Mammoth Mountain) which is also a supervolcano class and rumbles from time to time… but I can put everyone in the car and be ‘far enough away’ in about 4 hours, safe in about 10.

    Per the chart: I borrowed it, so can’t explain what’s on it and what’s not. All I can say is that it’s a pretty crowded chart already…

    Do you have a pointer to the Taupo eruption details?

    The wiki says:

    Main article: Taupo Volcano

    Lake Taupo lies in a caldera created by a supervolcanic eruption which occurred approximately 26,500 years ago. According to geological records, the volcano has erupted 28 times in the last 27,000 years. It has ejected mostly rhyolitic lava, although Mount Tauhara formed from dacitic lava.

    The largest eruption, known as the Oruanui eruption, ejected an estimated 1,170 cubic kilometres of material and caused several hundred square kilometres of surrounding land to collapse and form the caldera. The caldera later filled with water, eventually overflowing to cause a huge outwash flood.[3]

    Several later eruptions occurred over the millennia before the most recent major eruption, which occurred in 180 CE. Known as the Hatepe eruption, it is believed to have ejected 100 cubic kilometres of material, of which 30 cubic kilometres was ejected in the space of a few minutes. This was one of the most violent eruptions in the last 5,000 years (alongside the Tianchi eruption of Baekdu at around 1000 and the 1815 eruption of Tambora), with a Volcanic Explosivity Index rating of 7. The eruption column was twice as high as the eruption column from Mount St. Helens in 1980, and the ash turned the sky red over Rome and China. The eruption devastated much of the North Island and further expanded the lake. The area was uninhabited by humans at the time of the eruption, since New Zealand was not settled by the Māori until several centuries later at the earliest. Taupo’s last known eruption occurred around 210 CE, with lava dome extrusion forming the Horomatangi Reefs, but that eruption was much smaller than the 180 CE eruption.

    Which would imply that the 180 AD eruption “Hatepe” is the one you are talking about?

  3. peter geany says:

    Although I’m currently living in London I grew up in Rotorua 50 miles north of Taupo and spent many a day fishing in Taupo. It is very spooky to stop and look at that lake and imagine what sort of eruption could have ejected so much material as to form that caldera. The 180 AD eruption was the one I was referring to although all my links no longer work so wiki seems to be the only source of information at present.

    Also another spooky trip was when on a school trip we walked the length of Mt Tarawera which erupted in 1886, and climbed down into one of the craters. I was happy to hot foot it out as the imagination can run wild when you are in a volcanic crater. Another time I was travelling past Mt Ruapehu to the South of Taupo when it erupted spectacularly.

    One thing that has been intriguing me is all the eruptions and seismic activity around Indonesia over the last decade or so. Is this a portent of something really big from that area?

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    As a teenager, I climed “Mount Lassen”, a volcano about 60 miles from where I grew up. At the top, the ground was warm and there were smoky steamy emissions from various minor vents in the rocks. Yeah, it was spooky…

    While it took several hours to hike up, on the way down I decided to see what a ‘gravity assist’ did. Made it down in 30 minutes! Almost a dead run the whole way, and a couple of times I realized I was gaining speed faster than I could burn it off and just barely got slowed down to controllable in time for the next switchback…

    Per Indonesia: All that I have read implies that we get at best a medium scale eruption in Indonesia and at worst a spectacular one in the next 30 years. Another thing from the “God I hope not” department…

  5. Pascvaks says:

    Seems counterintuitive to think that there’s a connection between quakes and volcanoes and gysers and localized ocean temperature wiggles, after all it’s all Geology. But in our Modern Age of Over Specialization geologists seem to have adopted an attitude (I think it’s another conspiracy) that it’s all ‘apples and oranges and peaches and limes’ and never will anything connect. Well, that is the feeling you get, right? Glad to see that someone (other than me and a few billion others of The Great Unwashed Mob) is finally trying to connect some dots. Everything’s connected, right? Like a big planetary ball of old chewing gum and spit, right?

    With Quakes at –
    And Volcanoes at –
    maybe one day, maybe, someone will start to put things together again. Like Humpty Dumpty.

  6. R. de Haan says:

    Thanks for the article.
    I was looking for the graph climate volcano’s and history for a some time since I lost the link when I had to switch my computer for a new one.

    I found this paper “Bristlecone pine tree rings and volcanic eruptions over the last 5000 yr”
    that could be used for cross references.

    Click to access Salzer_Hughes_2007.pdf

    There is also this paper about the sun controlling ENSO

    This paper from Bob Tisdale

    And this paper from David Archibald linking solar activity to sea level change.

    Sometime in the near future we will find true driver of all these cycles and we will be able to explain the mechanism behind the driving forces.

    It’s really a shame how much research money has been wasted to nail the innocent “driver” of the non existing AGW.

    So many interesting observations, so many questions to be answered.

    These are really great times.

  7. R. de Haan says:

    Here is another paper about a possible connection between solar activity and volcanism

  8. Tim Clark says:

    I read the paper and studied the data presentations. It appears to me that shifting the data back 1.5 years produces an even stronger association. And differentiation in ocean mass density following a major heating event (El Nino) causing increased seismic activity would be a more plausible explanation than the one derived in the paper. IMHO

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