Geologist Jim Berkland's Mammoth Quake/Volcano Predictions
Jim Berkland
1. A 6+M Earthquake will occur before the end of April 1998, with a confidence of 75%. (Note: a 3 in 4 chance)
2. An Eruption, possibly just phreatic (Steam) will occur prior to the end of April 1998, with a confidence of 20%. (Note: a 1 in 5 chance) Note: Prediction 2 is subject to possible increase if the circumstances warrant.
Reasons: 1. Thousands of quakes have occured in the Mammoth Lakes area over the last 4 months. There were 500+ in a single day. 2. CO-2 and sulfurous gas releases are ongoing. Trees are dying. 3. There has been a 2" swelling of the surface of the Long Valley Caldera. 4. There has been a dramatic shallowing of the focii (depth of the earthquakes) to nearly ground level. "The only things lacking are large quakes of 6+M and harmonic tremors. Then we will have conditions that preceded past volcanic warnings."
Additional Notes: Not just Mammoth Lakes, but the whole Sierra Nevada range seems to be bouncing now. It is starting to become very interesting.
James Berkland noted that the volcanic windows fill in the gaps between seismic windows and often overlap by a day or two. Six of seven of the major St. Helens eruptions were between the Seismic Windows and the one big exception was the Big Blast of May 18, 1980, which was triggered by the 5.2M seismic event under the peak on that day.
Jim Berkland:
"I have been observing the same patterns at Mammoth Lake, and it seems the focii are getting shallower, which is a bit ominous. I know that the USGS is also carefully monitoring the activity there but are reluctant to talk much about it as they were badly burned in 1980-82, when they pointed out the possibility of an eruption, much to the dismay of the local ski resort operators and Chamber of Commerce. (You might want to remember the basic storylines of Jaws and Dante's Peak, etc)
The geologists were not much appreciated, although they were just doing their jobs. With the current climate of el Nino, so-called Global Warming and the Ozone Hole, there is a limit to how much the public will take before becoming immune to real hazards. If the CO-2 levels rise and the ground begins to swell, then I will have real concern and put out my own alert. Meanwhile I believe the current 3-month swarm of little ones is unprecedented, and the whole Sierra Nevada seems agitated from south to north.
I don't consider it totally coincidental that Mount Saint Helens blew in May of 1980 at the same time that the biggest 'recent' events of 6M+ shook the Mammoth Lakes area. Similarly, when the 7.5M Landers quake of June 28, 1992 hit, there were quakes triggered at Mammoth, Shasta, Lassen, Yellowstone, etc."
As of this Update: U.S.G.S.'s official condition is Condition "GREEN". A condition "Yellow Watch" on November 22nd was reported by the Associated Press but later denied by the USGS, although the criteria for the designation appeared to have been met.
The official ratings by the USGS have no effect upon earlier predictions by Jim Berkland. Further developments may increase the probability for surface volcanism, but a truly catastrophic explosion is not anticipated.
An article by AP stated that "MAMMOTH QUAKES INITIATE YELLOW ALERT" ... On Sunday, Dave Hill, the U.S. Geological Survey's chief scientist for Long Valley, was investigating the latest spate of volcanic activity, which registered a high of 600 quakes Nov. 17, and more than 2,000 temblors in the past week. A condition yellow watch was called on Saturday, meaning there was intense geological unrest. The condition yellow is called when earthquake swarms have at least one magnitude-5 quake or there is evidence of magma movement and ground deformation.
It is clear that quakes of 4.5, 4.5, 4.7 and 4.9M on one day do not quite equal the required 5M minimum, but the continued tilt anomaly at "Postpile" and other factors would normally dictate a Yellow designation for two weeks.

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