Rainfall and its Volcanic Trigger

By Jessica Alvarez

Rainfall and its Volcanic Trigger

By Jessica Alvarez
Jamie Farquharson, Postdoctoral Associate at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, offers insight on his research in volcanic activity and a surprising trigger.

There has been no shortage of natural disasters lately, but one frequently overlooked area of concern is volcanic activity. Jamie Farquharson, a Postdoctoral Associate at the Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric and Marine Science, has had an interest in volcanic research since his early years at the Université de Strasbourg in Strasbourg Alsace, France. “What really sparked my interest in this research was the idea that I could up-scale the concepts I’d spent years looking at in the laboratory, and apply this mindset to a similar problem at a much larger scale, using a brand new set of tools,” he explained

Jamie’s research focuses on the potential for volcanic eruptions to be modulated or even triggered by external factors. One such triggering factor, surprisingly enough, can be rainfall. This is because rainfall can alter the stress field in the vicinity of the magma chamber, possibly even to the point of fracturing the surrounding rocks.

Jamie and his colleagues work with passion to piece together the disparate fragments of knowledge and advance safety for those geographic locations and populations that could be affected. Jamie particularly enjoys exploring and coalescing various datasets. These datasets may include satellite data, experimental measurements, and historical accounts of volcanic activity.  “We hope our future research will be geared towards combining the methods and results of these current studies with satellite-based volcano-wide deformation data and source modeling, with the ultimate goal of improving forecasts for these kinds of eruptions,” he expressed.