Vesuvius volcano (Italy): tiny earthquakes are no reason to worry but normal
Tue, 26 Mar 2019, 07:1007:10 AM | BY: T
Current earthquakes at Vesuvius
Since about Oct last year (2018), the number of registered micro-quakes under the volcano seems to have increased. Small swarms of tiny quakes have been reported more frequently in various media and can be seen on the published data of the volcano observatory.
Earthquakes beneath Vesuvius during 2018
One such small swarm can e seen ongoing at the moment, but its significance is highly questionable:
1 They do not carry a signature of magma movement at depth: All are very shallow (0-2 km typically) and extremely small, rarely exceeding magnitude 1 (and no single quake has reached magnitude 3 during more than a year!). Most of them are either caused by human activities in the vicinity of the volcano, while others are from the volcano's normal behavior in its current dormant stage: small adjustments of fluid pressure in the upper hydrothermal system or other factors near the surface, but not magma movements in the deeper reservoir.
2 The visible increase is likely also an artifact caused by improved monitoring devices - earlier, such small tremors could not have been recorded. Vesuvius is probably the most monitored volcano in the world and even the tiniest earth movement is being recorded today.
3 The Volcano Observatory which has a very close eye on the volcano emphasizes repeatedly that the volcano is currently quiet and in normal state. Interpreting these events otherwise should be considered fear-mongering without justified cause.
While it is utmost important to closely monitor a volcano such as Vesuvius, it should be stressed that these quakes are no sign of an impending eruption and are not a reason to worry in particular. Although the volcano almost certainly will erupt again in some future (which could be decades to centuries from now), there is no other sign that Vesuvius is currently becoming more restless.
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