Volcano Hazards Program

U.S. Geological Survey
Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5174-B
Version 1.01

Chronology of Postglacial Eruptive Activity and Calculation of Eruption Probabilities for Medicine Lake Volcano, Northern California

By Manuel Nathenson, Julie M. Donnelly-Nolan, Duane E. Champion, and Jacob B. Lowenstern

2007, modified 2010

Photo of young volcano and barely weathered lava in foreground
Burnt Lava Flow and its principal vent, the 120-m-high cinder cone named High Hole Crater. Erupted about 3,000 years ago, this is one of the youngest cinder cones at Medicine Lake volcano. Cinder cones are abundant at the volcano and are widely scattered across the edifice. Photograph from USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5174-A, linked below; figure 5.

Medicine Lake volcano has had 4 eruptive episodes in its postglacial history (since 13,000 years ago) comprising 16 eruptions. Time intervals between events within the episodes are relatively short, whereas time intervals between the episodes are much longer. An updated radiocarbon chronology for these eruptions is presented that uses paleomagnetic data to constrain the choice of calibrated ages. This chronology is used with exponential, Weibull, and mixed-exponential probability distributions to model the data for time intervals between eruptions. The mixed exponential distribution is the best match to the data and provides estimates for the conditional probability of a future eruption given the time since the last eruption. The probability of an eruption at Medicine Lake volcano in the next year from today is 0.00028.


Download this report as a 13-page PDF file (sir2007-5174b_text.pdf; 572 kB).

Also of interest:

USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5174-A, Volcano Hazards Assessment for Medicine Lake Volcano, Northern California, by Julie M. Donnelly-Nolan, Manuel Nathenson, Duane E. Champion, David W. Ramsey, Jacob B. Lowenstern, and John W. Ewert

For questions about the content of this report, contact Manuel Nathenson

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