Bulletin of Volcanology

, 75:777 | Cite as

Earthquake occurrence reveals magma ascent beneath volcanoes and seamounts in the Banda region

  • Aleš Špičák
  • Václav Kuna
  • Jiří Vaněk
Research Article


Characteristic seismicity patterns beneath the volcanic arcs of the Banda region, SE Asia, suggest that magmatic processes have recently occurred beneath submarine portions of the arcs, forming yet-unrecognised submarine volcanoes. We have found that almost 50 % of earthquakes spatially associated with the Banda and Ambon volcanic arcs occurred in sequences with epicenters often concentrated in a small area and foci distributed in vertically elongated domains. The most pronounced occurrence of such earthquake series and swarms was observed in the area of the Manipa submarine basin (latitude 3.75°S, longitude 127.5°E, ESE of Buru Island), the remarkable morphology of which resembles a huge caldera (60 km in diameter) with a distinct cone seamount in its center, reaching almost 3000 m above seafloor. Another candidate for an unrecognised submarine volcano is an area between volcanoes Banda Api and Manuk, with a huge 1973/74 earthquake swarm. We assume that such a specific occurrence of earthquakes is induced by magma ascent and migration along faults above the subducting slab, with magma possibly occasionally reaching the sea floor. Utilization of teleseismic data can thus reveal activation of plumbing systems of submarine volcanoes, and highlight areas with the potential of near-future volcanic events.


Banda region Global seismological data Earthquake swarms Magma ascent Calc-alkaline volcanism Seamounts 



This research was supported by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic grant No. ME09011 (KONTAKT program).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsPrague 4Czech Republic

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