The Fire Web
Listen to Today's Edition
Scientists discovered a large complex of flat, interconnected magma chambers below Hawaii’s volcanoes that could be responsible for a number of tremors in the past seven years, the Independent reported.
In their paper, the research team used machine learning to analyze data gathered from seismic stations, including more than 192,000 small temblors of less than magnitude 3.0, that occurred between 2018 and mid-2022.
They explained that the technique allowed them to chart out the structure of the pancake-like magma chambers – known as “sills” – and map them out.
Their analysis showed that these sills link at least two of Hawaii’s most active volcanoes – Mauna Loa and Kīlauea.
The team noted that the magma chambers – which appear to be at depths ranging from around 22 to nearly 27 miles – tend to be over 900 feet thick and separated by a distance of more than 1,600 feet.
“Now, we have a high-definition map of an important part of the plumbing system,” co-author John D. Wilding said in a statement.
The new technique also helped researchers detect small quakes that would be difficult to spot by the human eye on a seismogram.
But the team noted that the study has yet to answer a few intricate details about volcanic activity, such as how the magma’s movement triggers these tiny tremors and if the sills beneath Hawaii are unique.
Furthermore, they were unable to determine if magma movement in these chambers contributed to the Nov. 27 eruption of Mauna Loa – the planet’s largest active volcano – as the study’s time frame concluded in May 2022.