Reply to ASK-AN-EARTH-SCIENTIST

Subject: Cerro Negro eruption and hurricane Mitch

Is there a possible connection between the eruption of the Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) on 3 Nov 1999, and the presence of the hurricane Mitch at the same time?

   Volcanoes do respond to changes in the pressure that is placed on them by such forces as the tides (Moon and Sun), so it is possible that the hurricane caused additional pressure on the volcano by adding water and the force from waves. However, this can only had an effect if the volcano is already near eruption and just needs a little push to set it off.
   I would rather doubt in this case that hurricane had much, if any, effect in the Cerro Negro eruption. Japan and the Philippine islands get hurricanes all the time and there is no known correlation of hurricanes and volcanic eruptions in these very volcanically-active countries.

Dr. Mike Garcia, Professor
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
University of Hawaii, Honolulu HI 96822


Ask-An-Earth-Scientist icon Return to the Ask-An-Earth-Scientist © page