Apparent tidal influence on magmatic activity at Oldoinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania, as observed in Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data

van Manen, Saskia M.; Kervyn, Matthieu; Blake, Stephen and Ernst, Gerald G. J. (2010). Apparent tidal influence on magmatic activity at Oldoinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania, as observed in Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 189(1-2) pp. 151–157.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2009.11.003

Abstract

This paper investigates the relative timing of solid Earth tides and thermal anomalies associated with volcanic activity at Oldoinyo Lengai (OL), Tanzania, from 2000 to 2008. The low viscosity of OL's carbonatite magmas may make it particularly susceptible to tidal stresses. Thermal data from the Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) were filtered using the MODLEN algorithm and Earth tides were modeled using TSoft. Application of the Schuster and Chi-squared tests resulted in apparent correlations between times of thermal anomalies and the phase of the semi-diurnal and biannual solid Earth tides. However, for semi-diurnal and biannual tides limited acquisition times of the MODIS data account for the apparent correlations. Re-examining the data while accounting for the bias introduced by the limited acquisition times, correlations are no longer found. Onset times of eruptive events and times of thermal anomalies show no statistically significant correlation with the fortnightly tide, indicating this is not an influence on activity at OL. Tidal influences on magmatic activity, if at all present, cannot be observed in coarse resolution thermal data on semi-diurnal and fortnightly time scales. Based on the available data, correlations on biannual timescales cannot be ruled out.

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