Evidence for static stress changes triggering the 1999 eruption of Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua and regional aftershock sequences



[1] Remarkable evidence of coupling between tectonic and magmatic events emerges from investigation of three tectonic earthquakes, aftershock sequences and eruption of Cerro Negro volcano, Nicaragua in 1999. Here, we explain this coupling through static stress changes following three Mw 5.2 earthquakes. We use focal mechanism solutions to estimate fault system geometry and magnitude of slip from these events, which are then used to calculate the change in minimum horizontal principal stress (σ3) for the region and the change in Coulomb failure stress on optimally oriented fault planes. Results of these simulations indicate that σ3 was reduced by ∼0.08 MPa and that Coulomb failure stress was raised by 0.001 to 0.2 MPa in the region. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov test demonstrates spatial correlation of Coulomb failure stress changes and triggered seismicity and volcanism, and suggests that these small changes in static stress can trigger subsequent geophysical events under appropriate circumstances.