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Analysis of 52 historic eruptions confirms the premise that fortnightly earth tides play a significant role in triggering activity at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. Since January 1832, nearly twice as many eruptions have occurred nearer fortnightly tidal maximum than tidal minimum (34 vs. 18). A straightforward significance test indicates that the likelihood of a fortnightly tidal influence on Kilauea eruptions is roughly 90%. This is not the case for Mauna Loa Volcano, where 37 historic eruptions have been distributed randomly with respect to the fortnightly tide. At Kilauea, stresses induced by fortnightly earth tides presumably act in concert with volcanic and tectonic stresses to trigger shallow magma movements along preexisting zones of weakness. Differences in structure or internal plumbing may limit the effectiveness of this mechanism at Mauna Loa. Tidal effects seem to be less marked at shields than at some island-arc volcanoes, possibly because higher average volcanic stress rates in Hawaii more often override the effects of tidal stresses.-Author
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Influence of fortnightly earth tides at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii.