For the past couple of weeks, our planet has demonstrated over and over that it is very much still active. For a while, I've been enjoying the ongoing eruption at Mt. Etna in Sicily. At the beginning of the month, an ongoing earthquake swarm began on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula. On March 4, an 8.1 Earthquake north of New Zealand threatened the South Pacific with a tsunami, and on March 20 another quake struck Japan, triggering a very brief tsunami alert. Also on Saturday, a new volcano eruption in Iceland - related to all those earlier quakes - has started and is sending gentle fountains and deadly flows over a couple square kilometers of desolate landscape. (And you can watch live here.)

This confluence of events has triggered many to ask, "Is this all related?" While science can't specifically tell us one way or the other, we do know two things: 1) earthquakes are always going off everywhere, and we just don't usually notice the ones in empty places, and 2) while earthquakes and volcanoes can be interlinked, it is easiest to link earthquakes along the same fault or volcanos and tremors along the same dike field. So these events are all probably coincidental, but we can't say for certain.

And this is why we science. We don't always know the answers for things. And this lack of knowledge drives us to keep exploring, keep taking data, and keep trying to learn more so maybe, someday, we can understand the origins of beautiful lava fountains like we now see in Iceland.

In love and science,
Pamela

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