John L Casey: The Solar – Seismic connection

Posted: March 12, 2011 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, climate, Energy, Solar physics, solar system dynamics
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P.O. Box 607841

Orlando, Fl 32860

Research Report 1-2010 (Preliminary)

Correlation of Solar Activity Minimums

and Large Magnitude Geophysical Events

John L. Casey1

Released for world wide web (www) distribution on Monday, March 1, 2010.

[1] An independent review of historical records was performed for 350 years of global volcanic activity

(1650-2009) and seismic (earthquake) activity for the past 300 years (1700 to 2009) within the continental United States and then compared to the Sun’s record of sunspots as a measure of solar activity. All three data sets were examined to determine whether a relationship existed between them and if the results of such a study could be used to develop methodology for identifying future geophysical events. The preliminary results from the study have shown that there exists a strong correlation between the solar activity that causes climate changes and the Earth’s largest seismic and volcanic events. The impressive degree of correlation for global volcanic activity (>80.6%) and for the largest USA earthquakes (100% of the top 7 most powerful) vs. solar activity lows provides a basis for future estimates of the time periods and magnitudes for the largest volcanic and seismic events many decades in advance. Finally, the coincidence of the Centennial and Bi-Centennial cycles of the RC Theory showed unmistakable relationships to these largest geophysical events. The use of such a tool may provide a new and valuable method for protection of people and property located in and around high risk geologic zones. Further, a significantly increased risk is indicated during the next 20 years for volcanic and earthquake events of historic scale. Citation: Casey, John. L. (2010), Correlation of Solar Activity Minimums and Large Magnitude Geophysical Events, Research Report 1-2010 (Premiminary), March 1, 2010, Space and Science Research Center, (SSRC).

1. Introduction.

[2] Previous work by Casey (2008) known as the “RC Theory,” established solar activity as a reliable model for prediction of the Earth’s climate changes. During the course of the research it was observed that there may be a positive correlation between solar activity as measured by sunspot counts over a long term base line average, and major geophysical events specifically earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This previous research found for example, that the largest ever recorded volcanic eruption, Mt. Tambora in Indonesia (1815), as well as the largest earthquakes in the history of the United States, the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, all occurred near the bottom of the last solar hibernation known as the Dalton Minimum (1793-1830). Given this initial relationship, a more detailed study of geophysical records was made to assess the degree of correlation if any that may exist between the Sun’s activity and such events.

2. Review of Global Volcanic Activity vs. Solar Activity from 1600AD to 2009AD.

[3] Using the historical record of volcanic eruptions developed by the Smithsonian Institution, an extraction was made of all those eruptions that were rated at a Volcano Explosive Index (VEI) of “5” or greater. The level of 5 on the VEI scale of 0-8 was selected since it was the beginning class of large eruptions. Many are familiar with the scale of such via Mt. St. Helens. This volcano has an established eruptive history and up to and after the May 18, 1980 VEI 5 event, was well documented and instrumented.


1. Space and Science Research Center, a division of Verity Mgmt. Svcs. Inc., Orlando, Florida


Table 1. Volcanoes of greater than or equal to VEI of 5 from 1650 to 2009. This list of large volcanic eruptions since 1650 was used as the baseline list for comparison against solar activity, i.e. periods of reduced sunspot count to determine any apparent associations. 5* = a class five VEI with potentially large date uncertainty, P* = plinian large class eruption, assumed >VEI 5. The study did not include activity associated with geological hot spots or caldera (super volcano) sites. Source: Smithsonian Institute.

Volcano Location Year VEI

1. Shiveluch Kamchatka Penninsula 1650 5

2. Long Island N.E. New Guinea 1660 6

3. Usu Hokkaido, Japan 1663 5

4. Shikotsu Hokkaido, Japan 1667 5

5. Gamkonora Halmahera, Indonesia 1673 5*

6. Tongkoko Sulawesi, Indonesia 1680 5*

7. Fuji Honshu, Japan 1707 5

8. Katla So. Iceland 1721 5*

9. Shikotsu Hokkaido, Japan 1739 5

10. Katla So.Iceland 1755 5

11. Pago New Britain 1800 P**

12. St.Helens Washington State, USA 1800 5

13. Tambora Lesser Sunda Islands,Indo. 1815 7

14. Galungung Java, Indonesia 1822 5

15. Cosiguina Nicaragua 1835 5

16. Shiveluch Kamchatka Penninsula 1854 5

17. Askja N.E.Iceland 1875 5

18. Krakatau Indonesia 1883 6

19. Okataina New Zealand 1886 5

20. Santa Maria Guatemala 1902 6

21. Lolobau New Britain 1905 P*

22. Ksudach Kamchatka Penninsula 1907 5

23. Novarupta Alaska Penninsula 1912 6

24. Azul, Cerro Chile 1932 5+

25. Kharimkotan Kuril Islands 1933 5

26. Bezimianny Kamchatka Peninsula 1956 5

27. Agung Lesser Sunda Islands, Indo. 1963 5

28. St. Helens Washington State, USA 1980 5

29. El Chichon Mexico 1982 5

30. Pinatubo Philippines 1991 6

31. Hudson, Cerro So. Chile 1991 5+


Of the 31 eruptions documented since 1650 with a VEI greater than or equal to 5, a total of 25 occurred during a reduced period of sunspots if not a major reduction in sunspots or a solar hibernation, e.g. the Dalton or Maunder Minimums. This preliminary study showed 80.6% of the largest eruptions took place during extended solar activity minimums. Significantly, the following list of the eight largest volcanic eruptions globally (VEI>6) since 1650, shows all but one took place only during a solar hibernation, or significant reduction in solar activity as measured by sunspot count.


Table 2. Volcanic eruptions that took place during major solar minimums and solar hibernations. This table establishes the strong relationship between the largest volcanic eruptions and solar activity lows on the order of the Centennial and Bi-Centennial Cycles defined by the RC Theory.

Volcano Location Year VEI Associated Solar Minimum

1. Long Island N .E. New Guinea 1660 6 Centennial: Maunder

2. Pago* New Britain 1800 P Bi-Centennial: Dalton

3. Tambora Lesser Sunda Islands 1815 7 Bi-Centennial: Dalton


4. Krakatau Indonesia 1883 6 Centennial: Year 1900

5. Santa Maria Guatemala 1902 6 Centennial: Year 1900

6. Lobobau New Britain 1905 P Centennial: Year 1900

7. Novarupta Alaska Peninsula 1907 6 Centennial: Year 1900

8. Pinatubo Philippines 1991 6 No Correlation


* P = plinian level large eruption.

3. Solar activity time line for comparison with volcanic and earthquake activity.

[4] Extended sunspot minimums, i.e. covering two or more 11 year Schwabe cycles, intermediate minimums, and solar hibernations were extracted from the chart below for use in volcanic and earthquake vs. solar activity comparisons:

Figure 1. 400 years of sunspot observations depicting the Maunder and Dalton Minimums and the Modern Maximum. Source: Graphics; R. A. Rhode, Global Warming Art, from data sets by Hoyt and Schatten (1998a, 1998b).

4. Correlation of the Largest Continental Earthquakes to Solar Activity for the Period 1700 to 2009.

[5] Identification of the largest continental US earthquakes was done with data from the US Geological Survey (USGS). The table below shows the top seven largest earthquakes and is taken from the revised June 7, 2005 published list of the largest fifteen earthquakes and reexamined for completeness on September 8, 2009. All of these largest seven are strongly correlated to an associated solar activity minimum.


Table 3. Top seven largest continental USA earthquakes. Source: USGS*

Location Date Magnitude Associated Solar Minimum

1. Cascadia subduction zone 01-26-1700 ~9 Centennial: Maunder

2. New Madrid, Missouri 12-16-1811 8.1 Bi-Centennial: Dalton

3. New Madrid, Missouri 02-7-1812 ~8 * Bi-Centennial: Dalton

4. Fort Tejon, California 01-09-1857 7.9 Intermediate Minimum***

5. San Francisco, California 04-18-1906 7.8 Centennial Minimum

6. Imperial Valley, California 02-24-1892 7.8 Centennial Minimum

7. New Madrid, Missouri 01-23-1812 7.8 Bi-Centennial: Dalton


* Measurement methods vary. The USGS says the New Madrid Feb 7 1812 temblor may have been 8.8 on the Richter scale.

** Centennial and Bi-Centennial cycles from the RC Theory have periods of 90-100 years and 206 years respectively.

*** Intermediate Minimums are easily observed declines in solar activity (sunspots) though lesser in magnitude than Centennial or Bi-Centennial events.

5. Conclusions.

[6] As a result of research conducted, it is reasonable to conclude there exists a strong correlation between global volcanic activity among the largest of classes of eruptions and solar activity lows. With the 80.6% occurrence of large scale global volcanic eruptions taking place (>VEI 5) during solar activity lows and with 87.5% occurring for the very largest (>VEI 6) eruptions during major solar minimums, it is concluded that any reliable predictive tool for forecasting future solar activity would also lend itself to forecasts for future global volcanic eruptions of the most powerful magnitudes. For example the RC Theory of solar activity may be an effective tool for forecast of global volcanism.

[7] The occurrence of each of the largest seven USA earthquakes during solar activity lows and in particular during solar hibernations indicates a predictive tool like the RC Theory for future extended solar minimums may also be effective in forecasts of major USA earthquakes.

[8] Given the unusually high degree of correlation found in the study for both the highest levels of global volcanism and USA earthquake activity when compared to extended solar activity lows, it can be concluded that there exists a significant likelihood (greater than 80%) that the current recently started solar hibernation may result in historic scale global volcanic eruptions and record earthquake activity within the continental United States.

[9] The determination that solar activity cycles may indicate timing and intensity of geophysical events like volcanism and earthquakes points toward a possible connection between solar activity and the underlying cause of these geophysical events, namely plate tectonics.

[10] The solar hibernation identified by Casey (2008) is currently under way. The results of this study and the high correlation between described volcanism and earthquakes and solar hibernations warrants the widest dissemination of warnings to personnel and governing organizations in high risk geophysical zones. It is expected beginning at any time and during the next twenty years of the solar hibernation, that potentially historic volcanic eruptions are likely globally and similarly record setting new earthquakes are likely within the continental United States.

[11] Acknowledgements.

The Global Warming Art project and the GNU Free Document Licensing program in total, for their open availability of high fidelity graphical representation of important research data, especially by R.A Rhode and L. McInnes and data from Hoyt and Schatten. The US Geological Survey for historical data on USA earthquakes. The Smithsonian Institute for data on global volcanism.


Siebert L., Simkin T (2002-). Volcanoes of the World: an Illiustrated catalog of Holocene Volcanoes and their Eruptions. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program Digital Information Series, GVP-3, (

USGS, Largest Earthquakes in the United States, June 07, 2005,

Casey, John L. (2008) The existence of ‘relational cycles’ of solar activity on a multi-decadal to centennial scale, as significant models of climate change on Earth, Research Report 1-2008, January 22, 2008, Space and Science Research Center, (SSRC).


John. L. Casey, President, Verity Mgmt. Svcs., Inc., and Director of the Space and Science Research Center (SSRC).

P.O. Box 607841, Orlando, Fl 32860


  1. vukcevic says:

    John Casey makes good points. We correspond sporadically (by email) for about 3 years now. His regular letters to the US government are important part for putting climate science in a proper perspective.

  2. Michele says:

    Sunspots & volcanoes & Greenland temperatures & volcanic dust & beryllium & magnetic excursions

    5000BP -15000BP

    A new younger dryas ?


  3. Roger Andrews says:

    Don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’ve just plotted SSN against volcanic eruptions and earthquakes since 1600, and you really have to be a true believer to see anything resembling a correlation. Details available on request.

  4. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    March 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Roger, maybe you have fodder for Tim Cannon’s wonderous frequency evaluation software. pg

  5. Roger Andrews says:


    I wish I did, but I think data problems would frustrate Tim’s software in this case. With 31 large volcanic eruptions over the last 360 years our data would consist of 31 ones with 329 zeroes in between, and I’m not sure what we would get out of that. And if we did get something I would tend to suspect it. Just by looking at the results you can see no obvious relationship between eruptions and SSN. Of the six VEI>5 eruptions since 1650 one (Long Island 1650) occurred during the Maunder minimum, one (Tambora 1815) during the Dalton minimum, three (Krakatoa 1883, Santa Maria 1902, Novarupta 1912) within a 30-year period when the sun was doing nothing out of the ordinary and the last one (Pinatubo 1991) right at the peak of solar cycle 22.

    Earthquakes are a lost cause because they become hopelessly undercounted as we go back in time (26 large earthquakes were recorded in 2010 but only eight during the entire 17th century.)

  6. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roger,
    Send the plot over and I’ll post it inthread. The early 1900’s eruptions were during a generally lower sunspot count following some high cycles in the mid-late 1800’s.

    I plotted big eruptions aganist temperature a while back, I’ll update those with solar cycles too and post them.

  7. Ken S says:

    Vukcevic, reference the possible Solar-Seismic Connection:

    At whattsupwiththat on Mar 11th at 8:35 PM in the topic

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe posted the following link and asked for comments.

    (From her link I selected the actual referenced topic; following link takes you directly to that)

    Somehow her post at Wattsupwiththat made it past the moderator as the video falls within the category of “Government Conspiracy Theories” and therefore not science.

    In the video there are references and pictures of Rainbow like effects in the sky preceding recent earthquakes which she blames on the government.

    To the point, discounting the conspiracy angle, could these rainbow like clouds be related to energy from the sun and this energy entering the earth and triggering these earthquakes in areas prone to an eventual earthquake that is soon due anyways? If so, here is possible visual evidence for that?

    You mentioned in a previous topic “Japan earthquake occurred at the end of the latest geomagnetic storm, the longest and strongest in the latest series, still going on 23 hours after it started.”

    Are the rainbow clouds similar to the northern lights except they are showing up all over the world because of the current solar related influences?

  8. vukcevic says:

    Rog , your graphs point to a possible solar link.
    Geomagnetic disturbances (magnetic storms) are almost (but not exactly) in sync with the sunspot number, whereby the second half of a cycle is more active.


  9. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Vuk, is this magnetic storms to SSN adjusted to earth arrival or is time of origin at the sun? pg

  10. Roger Andrews says:

    Tallbloke; did you get my graphs?

  11. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roger, yes, give me an hour or two. Using the daylight here to get some work done outside.

  12. vukcevic says:

    There are number of ground station that measure Kp index, some of them are selected as reference stations, than Ap is calculated.

  13. tallbloke says:

    Here is Roger Andrew’s graph of Earthquake activity against sunspots. Check his previous comments.
    Roger Andrews Volc-SSN

  14. Vuk: From the paper you refer to:
    We will use data from the S3C Great Observatory and from ground-based magnetometer arrays to show long term trends near solar minimum for ultra low frequency (ULF) fluctuations, specifically the Pc5 (˜1 – 8 mHz) band. For the satellites we will also demonstrate the entry of
    compressional Pc5 energy and waves at the dayside magnetopause, and the transport
    through the magnetosphere for selected events in 2002. The ionosphere modulates
    waves transmitted to the ground so we only compare the wave power and not the
    waves themselves for the ground-based magnetometers. The role of ionospheric currents
    will be highlighted in a companion paper.

    Do those ULF fluctuations “modulate” earth spinning?

  15. Roger Andrews says:

    First graph should say Hoyt SSN versus volcanic eruptions, not earthquakes. Sorry.

  16. vukcevic says:

    Study of world volcanism as reported by Smitsonian shows relatively flat time line:

    See main article at:
    I think they are probably correct.

  17. vukcevic says:

    I wouldn’t know. I suspect that the conducting layers might be slightly more affected at the times of the more intense solar activity (counter emf).

  18. Tenuc says:

    As earthquakes and volcanic activity seem to take a long time to build up, perhaps this is why there is no obvious correlation to SSN.

    However, if rapid change in solar activity acts as a trigger for seismic events, only those areas which have stored enough potential energy will be affected – it is ineffective to fire a gun without a primed bullet in the chamber.

    Perhaps we need to look for links to strong, short-term energetic solar events like flares, CMEs e.t.c., rather than smoothed SSN???

  19. vukcevic says:

    I agree; the reason why I started this project
    We’ll see how it works out.

  20. tallbloke says:

    Another graph from Roger Andrews. I’ll let him do the ‘splainin, I’m mad busy again today.
    Roger Andrews - Volc vs Sat-SST

  21. john gardner says:

    Great topic and discussion – thanks to all. Would anyone care to comment on the fact that global volcanic activity seemed to drop away between feb 21 and march 6?
    See There was plenty of activity all over the world for weeks before, then suddnly nothing (or very little). Seems strange to me (a layman), but the start of the quiet period coincides with the NZ quake and ended just before the Japanese quake.

  22. Roger Andrews says:

    Major earthquakes occur at locked plate boundaries that have been locked for a long time, and the stresses involved are immense – the recent quake in Japan seems to have moved much of the island of Honshu eight feet west.

    What seems to be lacking here is a plausible mechanism for how a change in solar activity can trigger an event this large. Is there one?

    We also need to be careful with correlations involving the sun. Tallbloke, I know you’re busy, but I have an example graph ready to send, and if you could insert it below I would be grateful. If not, no big deal.

  23. @A big weight, at equilibrium, can be moved by applying a small force. However we ignore everything: Why does the earth spin, in the first place?, What kind of force started it spinning?. Does it run, as the EU guys say, like an homopolar motor?

  24. tallbloke says:

    Roger, sure. Send the plot images rather than a pdf if possible. Saves time screenshotting them.

  25. tallbloke says:

    Lol, good one Roger. 🙂

  26. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Roger; the present conditions may have lost the correlation, or maybe the present conditions are just noise. 😉 pg

  27. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi pg:

    “the present conditions may have lost the correlation.” Which correlation are you referring to here?

  28. P.G. Sharrow says:

    the R-senators to sunspots. the present period has R-senators rising faster then sunspots. or we “hiding the decline”. 😎 pg

  29. Roger Andrews says:


    R-senators may be rising faster than sunspots right now, but the correlative trend lives on. At the peak of solar cycle 23 in 2000 there were 50 R-senators, by the 2008 trough there were only 41, but now we are in the cycle 24 upswing the number has gone back up to 47. Looks like bad news for the Dems at the 2012 elections.

  30. Tenuc says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    March 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Major earthquakes occur at locked plate boundaries that have been locked for a long time, and the stresses involved are immense – the recent quake in Japan seems to have moved much of the island of Honshu eight feet west.

    What seems to be lacking here is a plausible mechanism for how a change in solar activity can trigger an event this large. Is there one?

    “…We also need to be careful with correlations involving the sun…”

    I’m lovin’ it Roger…PMSL… :-))

    The other well known correlation was discovered by William Herschel in 1801, when he noticed an apparent connection between wheat prices and sunspot number. Interestingly a study done in 2004, found the same link using the modern record!

    “Sunspot activity impacts on crop success”

  31. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi Tenuc:

    Re wheat prices: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    Getting back to the topic of this thread, in the New Zealand earthquake thread Adolfo Giurfa gave links to a couple of interesting papers on solar – planetary – EM precursor – earthquake relationships. They’re here if anyone wants to read them:

  32. Ulric Lyons says:

    @Tenuc says:
    March 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

    “Perhaps we need to look for links to strong, short-term energetic solar events like flares, CMEs e.t.c., rather than smoothed SSN???”

    Correct. Proton density bursts.

  33. vukcevic says:

    My latest update appears to show a developing pattern, it will need far longer time period to see if it is meaningful.

  34. tallbloke says:

    Hi Vuk, thanks for that. This site is getting a huge number of visits related to the N.Z. and Japan earthquakes at the moment. If you don’t mind giving permission, I’d like to reproduce that page as a new post.


  35. vukcevic says:

    You are welcome, with proviso: the tb’s talkshop does not take any responsibility either for statements or data presented.
    Please note that there are number of the geomag parameters which I have not labelled, in case I decide they are no longer relevant, or if pattern does hold for some time I might be able to publish results.

    [Reply: Thanks Vuk, duly noted]

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  41. 1000frolly says:

    It seems to me that you guys are ignoring the Moon, which also has a strong tidal effect on the Earth and may cause eruptions or earthquakes.
    Also would be good to look at speed of the sun during the 61-year barycenter cycle.