Do volcanic eruptions coincide with low sunspot activity?

Apparently not in the Cascades

The most recent eruptions of Mount Hood – the tallest peak in Oregon – took place about 220 years ago and 1,500 years ago, according to Professor Adam Kent of Oregon State University and Associate Professor Kari Cooper of University of California-Davis.

When I saw that article in the Bend (Oregon) Bulletin, I thought – bingo! – that eruption hit smack dab in the middle of the Dalton Minimum, a time of extremely low sunspot activity.


And when the accompanying chart showed that fully half of all volcanoes in the Cascade Range had erupted around the same time, well, it looked obvious that volcanic activity correlates with low sunspot activity.

But then I looked at the rest of the chart.

What about the Maunder Minimum?

According to Kent and Cooper’s chart, only two – maybe three – volcanoes erupted in the Cascade Range during the Maunder Minimum.

If low sunspot activity coincides with volcanic activity, shouldn’t even more volcanic activity have occurred during the Maunder Minimum than during the Dalton Minimum?


Worldwide, there were at least 90 major volcanic eruptions in 1660 alone, according climatologist Cliff Harris and meteorologist Randy Mann.

Sunspot Grand Minima
Sunspot Grand Minima

When you get to this link, click on the graph again to make it even bigger:

So why not in the Cascades? Did those other eruptions somehow relieve the pressure in the Cascades?

New research results suggest that magma sitting 4-5 kilometers beneath the surface of Oregon’s Mount Hood has been stored in near-solid conditions for thousands of years. The time it takes to liquefy and potentially erupt, however, is surprisingly short–perhaps as little as a couple of months.

At this point, I do not have the answer. Perhaps one of my readers…..?

See entire article by Dylan Darling:

Thanks to Terry Homeniuk for this link

See also:

22 thoughts on “Do volcanic eruptions coincide with low sunspot activity?”

  1. I wonder if our large planets line up to exert extra force on the Earth. Like the moon controls our tides, do the large planets, every so often, control the magma inside the Earth. Ex. extra pull makes the magma rise.

  2. It could be coincidental that volcanic activity in the Cascade range flared up during the last little ice age. It certainly needs more study to find out for sure.

    I think an argument could be made that the weight of continental ice sheets forces extra magma into caldera volcanoes to cause super eruptions like Toba and Taupo during the last ice age.

  3. In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky warned us that the people living in the early part of the 21st century would see great changes and upheaval. Extreme and unpredictable weather, more frequent and larger quakes, fireballs and an increase in volcanic activity were just some of the things he said we could expect. He based this warning on a regular cycle of destruction that took place every 3500 years.
    According to Velikovsky, the catalyst of this change would be a large cosmic intruder who’s visits could be traced back as far as 10,000 BC.
    Based on the accuracy in predicting what the world would be like 60’s years after his warning, I think it would be prudent to examine the possibility that the changes we are now experiencing, including low suns spots, are all symptoms of a single cause…Velikovsky’s celestial intruder.

  4. If low sunspot activity coincides with volcanic activity, shouldn’t even more volcanic activity have occurred during the Maunder Minimum than during the Dalton Minimum?

    My reply

    The data shows clearly that 85% of all major volcanic eruptions post 1600 AD have been associated with solar minimum periods.

    For more info goggle John Casey Orlando Space and Science Center.

  5. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation. They could be two entirely seperate cycles that just happen to intersect at times. Looking at Harris and Manns chart the erruptions occur during the transitions from warm to cold and as much during cold to warm. It is reasonable to conclude that the ash and aerosols from erruptions cause cooling of the atmosphere however there was a large number of erruptions during the warm up phase from the little iceage. The effect from volcanic erruptions probably have to be massive to have an effect and are probably short lived compared to the solar cycles. That is just a guess though. What happens at a particular location has to do more with local tectonics rather that global effects.

    • There is probably a latency or delay in some of the volcanic systems. Example: The Yellowstone caldera is formed by a hot spot, or upwelling region, and as the continental crust is pushed by tectonics, this hotspot has effectively moved across Idaho to it’s present location. This, and other factors like fractures would create a distorted and convoluted magma channel over time. Therefore, some volcanoes will erupt more quickly than others given that the same causative factors are applied simultaneously worldwide.

  6. Where did the water channels open up at(we will never know)?
    Did the slight earth expansion absorb H2O into the void created, which would have fed them(possibly). If so the deeper water reservoirs are just waiting while the magma works upwards waiting to join with solidified magma. Would have to get a working model of earthquakes and expansion of that time frame(will never know)to see the why and why not.
    Suppose we can ponder all we want but without data we will never know.
    Will go back in time via chrono clock and check LOL.

  7. By the way 4 months worth of rain in one day for Serbia!
    Do believe it takes a lot of water to start ice ages.

  8. It’s difficult to say if it is Sunspots or a relationship between the Sun, planets, and our Moon along with lower solar magnetic fields. However, I can safely say that there are more volcanic eruptions today compared to 2 years ago. On 6/32012 I recorded 27 volcanoes erupting, yet this month I found a high of 38 erupting with 36 erupting as we speak. That’s about a 25% increase in 2 years. Is it a Coincidence? I have reason to believe that the same forces affecting the Sun (Planetary alignment) also act on the Earth, Moon, and other planets. Could that be why the red spot on Jupiter is shrinking? Maybe when there is enough un-manipulated data, we may be able to locate a relationship.

    It is interesting that the scientists are only pointing at lightening since all the “high-energy particles” add to the total energy from the Sun and, now, other locations. I read somewhere that Gamma rays were bombarding the Earth for several months in 1998 that could have warmed the planet, but they blame humans for the warming!

    “Lightning Caused By Solar Wind?”

    “It has been believed by scientists for some time now that streams of high-energy particles coming from things like cosmic rays and other highly charged particles can have an adverse effect on the Earth’s weather, so researchers, including lead author Dr. Chris Scott, decided to seek proof.”
    “The solar wind has both slow and fast streams, and sometimes these streams can collide with one another, causing an increased speed and intensity. Such winds are the most likely to produce substantial weather changes.”

  9. There is a paper written by Richard B Stothers of NASA in 1989 entitled “Volcanic Eruptions and solar activity”.
    Also a paper that goes into the physics behind this phenomena published in Godwana Research in early 2011. This is pay-walled and entitled “Explosive volcanic eruptions triggered by cosmic rays: Volcano as a bubble chamber”.
    Finally readers should research and come to understand how tidal forces effect planets and their satellites. It seems that when all the major gas giant planets line up and Earth, Venus and the moon periodically get into the line-up too the combined tidal forces can slightly increase the temperature of the magma which in turn increases the incidence of great earthquakes and volcanic activity. The incidence of great (8+) earthquakes has increased about 0-7 fold since the close to line-up that occurred from 2003 to about 2008.

  10. Perhaps it is best practice to check for occurrences worldwide during Solar Minimums as any local Volcano or fault can be dormant for other reasons.

  11. I am from serbia,and here is terible,so much rain all the rivers flood the serbia.Belgrade is flooded,2 meters of water on the streets.i do belevie the ice age is coming,because things are geting out of control. Soory for my bad english. i read your posts Robert,all respect for teling the truth.. 🙂

  12. Hi Robert. Sir there is a simple and inescapably plausible link courtesy of Nikolay Sidorenkov and Paul Vaughan. This does not require nor negate the effects of geomagnetic effect or cosmic rays. I am neither saying anything for or against these effects.

    If we imagine the Earth having evolved with a Sun of lower insolation. The atmosphere would be more dense and closer to the surface (without a Sun the Earth would be approaching degeneracy). If, in our imaginary world the Sun increased output then the heating effect upon the atmosphere, irrespective of mechanics would inflate it against gravity. As the Earth is a rotating inertial frame the atmosphere’s increased extent produces an easterly zonal wind. The extended atmosphere does not have the angular velocity to complete a rotation period in the same time as the surface. It has to describe a larger circle. Given time frictional turbulence within the atmosphere and between the atmosphere and surface would force co-rotation. The result would be an increase in rotation speed of the atmosphere at the cost of reduction in rotation of the solid mass.

    Well we already measure this effect.

    Zenith cameras positioned around the globe measure the rotating velocity of the Earth relative to fixed points in distant space. The result is differences in length of day measured in milliseconds by atomic clocking.

    Increases in insolation inflate the atmosphere. Decreases deflate it. The result is the dominance of the mean zonal wind expressed and measured as atmospheric angular momentum.

    Increases in insolation, wether in TSI or spectral (ie UV) inflate the atmosphere and result in a deceleration of the globe as a rotating whole. This force is expressed as a change in the mean zonal wind and becomes a change in oceanic circulation through frictional dissipation. The change in lithospheric rotation is measured by the zenith cameras.

    The momentum involved proves that the lithosphere is viscously decoupled from the asthenosphere. A simple order of magnitude deduction makes this a certainty.

    To summarise. Inflation or deflation of the atmosphere results in changes in mean zonal wind. This manifests as surface oceanic current changes in circulation and through frictional dissipation. Ultimately the stresses are born by the coupling between the lithosphere and the asthenosphere to conserve momentum. A basic physical requirement.

    Therefore rapid changes in insolation result in massive stresses imposed upon the lithosphere in transferring momentum changes through the viscous asthenosphere to the bulk of the rotating mass of the Earth.

    Any tectonic weakness will be under greater stress during times of changes in insolation.

    • So…

      When the Sun is strong (max) it applies a force which reduces the stress on the Earth’s structure (plates), but when the Sun is weak (min), this force is weakened and the Earth’s structure is stressed which allows for increased plate/volcanic activity ?

    • hi Geo,

      thanks for posting this — I have been trying to understand the link between variable solar output and volcanic activity for some time

      I see a certain amount of puzzlement on the site about this post, so I’ll try and render it in another way that may makes it clearer for other readers, tho I fear I will just make it worse.

      Sidorenkov and Vaughan saying:

      1. over time, the earth’s crust and atmosphere will come into some kind of equilibrium, and match speeds as best they can, achieving some kind of “steady-state”
      2. when the amount of received solar power changes: either less, or more, the atmosphere cools down or heats up
      3. in accordance with the Ideal Gas Law — PV=nRT, the atmosphere will contract or expand, changing it’s angular momentum
      4. in accordance with Newton’s law of Conservation of Momentum, [ 1st Law] this will exert a torque on the lithosphere, i.e. Earth’s crust
      5. picture the Earth as similar to a spinning medicine ball — a thin ~100 mile thick solid rock “skin”, and a 4,000 mile radius hot molten/fluid rock/iron core, plus the atmosphere as similar to a 1-speed bicycle “friction brake” in contact with the Earth’s surface
      6. rock is a marvelous building material — great under compression, not-so-much under shear, which is what happens when it has to exert an equal-and-opposite torque on the contracted or expanded atmosphere
      7 this shearing force on the rock lithosphere causes buckling events in the earth’s mantle, hence we get volcanoes when the received solar power changes — both reductions and increases.

      thanks so much Geo for posting this, and I hope this helps Robert’s other readers understand this important post.


      • to make Geo’s post a little clearer, a similar phenomenon that may be more familiar to Robert’s readers is the figure skater’s spin, which may be viewed on T.V. during the winter Olympics.

        reductions and increases in solar flux cause reductions and increases in the atmosphere’s moment of inertia respectively.

        torques exerted by or on the lithosphere to conserve angular momentum cause shearing forces on the lithosphere / mantle, and hence volcanoes.

        I hope this helps Robert’s readers understand Geo’s post.


  13. Has been proposed that the expansion and orbital rotation that is manifested during cooling is for the most part a sustainable effect and does not retract.

  14. Just before I read this, I swallowed the last of a lettuce sandwich on brown with oil but no salt. Do you think that was governed by Mount St Helens and/or sunspots?

  15. GEO, I to have the same question. Thanks

    Teddi says:

    May 18, 2014 at 12:23 am


    When the Sun is strong (max) it applies a force which reduces the stress on the Earth’s structure (plates), but when the Sun is weak (min), this force is weakened and the Earth’s structure is stressed which allows for increased plate/volcanic activity ?

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