Friday, January 27, 2012

Possible Dike Intrusion at Golden Trout Creek

A minor earthquake swarm is ongoing south of the main peak of Golden Trout Creek volcanic field in CA, USA. The largest event so far has been a mag 2.9 tremblor (curiously with a depth of 0.0 KM), with aftershocks or other independent quakes registering from 1.1-2.3 magnitude. Due to the locations and magnitude of the quakes, this could be related to minor dike intrusion. If it is, there can be an expected die-off of indigenous trees in the area due to CO2/SO2 release similar to what happened at Mammoth Mountain in the 1990's.

This area does not produce frequent earthquakes.

The quakes have been recorded in a longitudinally linear fashion, with most occurring at or near the same depths, indicating a localized source, with the exception of the 2.9 tremblor at surface depth, which could be depth read error. This area is not highly known for much tectonic volcanism.

The Golden Trout Creek volcanic field is a Holocene volcanic center, listed on the GVP as an active volcano. While no historical eruptions have been recorded at Golden Trout Creek, the last eruption has been carbon dated to be around 5-10,000 years old, post dating glaciation at the site. In short, this volcano has erupted when humans were present on North America, and probably will again.

This current cycle will NOT likely result in any eruptive activity, however, as with all active, or slightly active Holocene volcanoes, there is always that possibility.

The Golden Trout Creek volcanic system is not near any large population centers in California. If it did erupt, it is likely that news would be slow to come out of that area, if at all. The area is known for producing about 5 different volcanic cinder cones, which are monogenetic (erupting only once) in nature. The last volcanic eruption produced a ~6km flow down a river gully.

The below picture is from Google Earth with the USGS overlay added, and the largest earthquake highlighted.


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