Washington's Volcanoes Are Experiencing Seismic Tremors from an Unlikely Source: Glaciers

Most people think of seismic activity as the result of movement along faults or of violent volcanic eruptions. But seismic events can have other causes, including floods and even large crowds of excited fans—such as those at Taylor Swift’s recent Seattle shows, whose enthusiastic reception caused seismic activity equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake—and glaciers.

Decades ago, scientists who research seismic activity in the Washington Cascades recorded a number of small seismic events and eventually determined that they were caused by glacier movement. These events, called “glacier quakes,” allow for important insight into seismic activity, patterns of glacier movement and even climate events.

For Washington state residents, seismic activity is nothing new.