4/9/2013 — Pisgah Volcano Earthquake — 2.9M indicates movement at the “dormant” Volcano crater complex

A 2.9M earthquake struck Pisgah Volcanic crater Monday, April 8 2013.

2011 saw some strange activity near the Pisgah Crater complex, as well as several dormant volcanic areas up the west coast , also extending south into Mexico.  Multiple day long plumes rising from near dormant Volcanoes, as well as sulfuric smells across southern California.

Move forward to 2012, the USGS creates the new “CalVO” California Volcano Observatory — created to monitor unknown / current /and  new volcanoes that may develop in the lower 48 States, specifically the west coast USA.

Also, during 2012, the newly formed CalVO actually UPGRADED southern california to an ACTIVE status near the Salton Sea Volcanic Buttes (just south of the Pisgah Location.. same region .. southern California).

pisgah crater earthquake april 8 2013

Link to the current Pisgah earthquake information:


2013 April 08 14:22:51 UTC

Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude 2.9
Location 34.710°N, 116.290°W
Depth 2.5 km (1.6 miles)
  • 12 km (7 miles) W (264°) from Ludlow, CA
  • 40 km (25 miles) WNW (290°) from Bagdad, CA
  • 55 km (34 miles) NNW (341°) from Twentynine Palms Base, CA
  • 67 km (41 miles) NNW (343°) from Twentynine Palms, CA
  • 191 km (119 miles) SSW (211°) from Las Vegas, NV


Upgrading southern California to ACTIVE volcanic status:


Earthquake swarms and a region-wide rotten egg smell recently reminded Southern California residents they live next to an active volcano field, tiny though it may be.

At the time, scientists said the phenomena did not reflect changes in the magma chamber below the Salton Sea. But now, researchers may need to revise estimates of the potential hazard posed by the Salton Buttes—five volcanoes at the lake’s southern tip.

The buttes last erupted between 940 and 0 B.C., not 30,000 years ago, as previously thought, a new study detailed online Oct. 15 in the journal Geology reports. The new age—which makes these some of California’s youngest volcanoes—pushes the volcanic quintuplets into active status. The California Volcano Observatory, launched in February by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), already lists the area as a high threat for future blasts.

“The USGS is starting to monitor all potentially active volcanoes in California, which includes the Salton Buttes,” said study author Axel Schmitt, a geochronologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “With our results, I think this will further enhance the need to look into the system,” Schmitt told OurAmazingPlanet.

Schmitt and his colleagues dated zircon crystals in the hardened lava of the buttes with a relatively new technique, a “helium clock” that starts ticking once the minerals begin cooling at the surface.

Resolving the Obsidian Butte riddle

The revised age solves a long-standing archeological conundrum, said Steve Shackley, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Artifacts created from one of the five buttes, Obsidian Butte, first appear in Native American villages around 510 B.C. to 640 B.C. The Kumeyaay people, whose territory ranged from the coast to the Coso Mountains, crafted projectiles from Obsidian Butte glass, he said. “The men produced some of the best in the world,” Shackley told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, for decades, researchers thought Obsidian Butte erupted thousands of years earlier. To explain why no one collected the valuable obsidian, archeologists hypothesized that Obsidian Butte was submerged under ancient Lake Cahuilla, the precursor to today’s Salton Sea. But geologists had long proved that Lake Cahuilla was ephemeral, flooding and emptying over and over again, so the explanation was always problematic.

“If this dating method is correct, then the Obsidian Butte material wasn’t even available, and that makes more sense archaeologically,” Shackley said.

Rifting brings rising magma

In fact, that Obsidian Butte rises above the Salton Sea is what first attracted Schmitt’s attention. A 30,000-year-old butte should have been buried by a combination of sediment and subsidence by now, he said. “It had to be very young,” Schmitt said.

The buttes exist because California is tearing apart, forming new oceanic crust as magma wells up from below. The sinking Salton Trough is the landward extension of the Gulf of California, and marks the boundary between the Pacific and North America tectonic plates.

The lava source for the volcanoes is a magma chamberbeneath the Salton Sea, which also heats water for a nearby geothermal plant. Decay of uranium isotopes in zircon crystals show magma built up underneath the volcanoes for thousands of years before the latest eruption, the study shows.


Creating the CVO in 2012 after the Pisgah / West Coast plume event:


Say Hello to CalVO: USGS California Volcano Observatory Opens
Released: 2/9/2012 12:00:00 PM

“More than 500 volcanic vents have been identified in the State of California. At least 76 of these vents have erupted, some repeatedly, during the last 10,000 years. …  Sooner or later, volcanoes in California will erupt again, and they could have serious impacts on the health and safety of the State’s citizens as well as on its economy.”   Miller, C. Dan, 1989, Potential Hazards from Future Volcanic Eruptions in California: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1847, 17p. 

MENLO PARK, Calif. — The U.S. Geological Survey announces the establishment of the USGS California Volcano Observatory, or CalVO, headquartered within existing USGS facilities in Menlo Park, Calif. Establishing CalVO will increase awareness of and resiliency to the volcano threats in California, many of which pose significant threats to the economy and well being of the state and its inhabitants.

“By uniting the research, monitoring, and hazard assessment for all of the volcanoes that pose a threat to the residents of California, CalVO will provide improved hazard information products to the public and decision makers alike,” explained USGS director Marcia McNutt. “This realignment is part of the USGS’s efforts to build the National Volcano Early Warning System, a prioritized modernization of USGS volcano monitoring enabled through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.”

CalVO takes on responsibility for research, monitoring, and assessing hazards for all of the potentially active volcanoes in California and coordinating with local and State emergency managers to prepare for responding to renewed volcanic activity. Previously, the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash was responsible for responding to volcanic unrest at some northern California volcanoes.

CalVO replaces the former Long Valley Observatory, established in 1982 to monitor the restless Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters region of California. The creation of CalVO will improve coordination with federal, state, and local emergency managers during volcanic crises, and create new opportunities for volcanic hazard awareness and preparedness. The realignment of USGS Volcano Observatories will further facilitate collaboration with federal and state partner agencies including the California Emergency Management Agency and the California Geological Survey.

“California has always led the nation in comprehensive planning for potential disasters. Having the USGS take the initiative to enhance their volcanic threat capabilities and, most importantly, improve planning and coordination with California’s emergency managers is welcomed news.  At the end of the day, the public expects us to plan for all hazards, and this is another great example,” said Mike Dayton, Undersecretary of the California Emergency Management Agency.

“California is the most geologically diverse state in the nation. We are known for our earthquakes, landslides and flood hazards. But our nearly forgotten hazard is our volcanoes,” said Dr. John Parrish, the State Geologist of California. “The California Geological Survey welcomes the new CalVO with its expanded scope and organization, and we look forward to its successful operations. The new CalVO will streamline our emergency response operations since CGS has offices at the USGS Menlo Park complex, and CalVO’s authority now encompasses all of California’s volcanic provinces in one center.”

In 2005, the USGS issued an assessment entitled “Volcanic Threat and Monitoring Capabilities in the United States” (USGS OFR 2005-1164). Volcanic threat rankings for U.S. volcanoes were derived from a combination of factors including age of the volcano, potential hazards (the destructive natural phenomena produced by a volcano), exposure (people and property at risk from the hazards), and current level of monitoring (real-time sensors in place to detect volcanic unrest).

The list of potentially threatening volcanoes on CalVO’s watch list includes Mount Shasta, Medicine Lake Volcano, Clear Lake Volcanic Field, and Lassen Volcanic Center in northern California; Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters in east-central California; Salton Buttes, Coso Volcanic Field, and Ubehebe Craters in southern California; and Soda Lakes in central Nevada. CalVO’s watch list is subject to change as new data on past eruptive activity becomes known, as volcanic unrest develops, as monitoring networks are upgraded, and/or as exposure factors change.

Under the Stafford Act, the USGS has the federal responsibility to issue timely and effective warnings of potential volcanic disasters.  In addition to CalVO, the USGS operates four other volcano observatories. The Cascade Volcano Observatory oversees efforts at all potentially active volcanoes in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory is responsible for volcanoes in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Alaska Volcano Observatory oversees Alaskan volcanoes and those within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The oldest USGS volcano observatory, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, is responsible for the state of Hawaii and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. All USGS volcano observatories share scientific expertise, administrative staff, and equipment.

2 thoughts on “4/9/2013 — Pisgah Volcano Earthquake — 2.9M indicates movement at the “dormant” Volcano crater complex

  1. Pingback: 4/9/2013 — Pisgah Volcano Earthquake — 2.9M indicates movement at the “dormant” Volcano crater complex | prizmgirl

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