Can rain cause volcanic eruptions?

Open-File Report 93-445



Volcanic eruptions are renowned for their violence and destructive power. This power comes ultimately from the heat and pressure of molten rock and its contained gases. Therefore we rarely consider the possibility that meteoric phenomena, like rainfall, could promote or inhibit their occurrence. Yet from time to time observers have suggested that weather may affect volcanic activity. In the late 1800's, for example, one of the first geologists to visit the island of Hawaii, J.D. Dana, speculated that rainfall influenced the occurrence of eruptions there. In the early 1900's, volcanologists suggested that some eruptions from Mount Lassen, Calif., were caused by the infiltration of snowmelt into the volcano's hot summit. Most such associations have not been provable because of lack of information; others have been dismissed after careful evaluation of the evidence.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Can rain cause volcanic eruptions?
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 93-445
DOI 10.3133/ofr93445
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 2 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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