Volcano season – Graph It!

Volcano season – Graph It! – Brief Article

Jeanna Bryner

Seasons can affect your moods, but can they uncork a volcano? Geologist Ben Mason, from the University of Cambridge in England, tallied 300 years’ worth of monthly eruptions from the world’s most active volcanoes. Result: These sporadic scorchers explode more often from December through February.

Why? Some scientists think snow build-up in winter squishes the North Pole, making Earth’s middle latitudes fatter. This tiny shape change relieves pressure, or weight, from volcanoes and may jolt an eruption–like uncapping a shaken bottle of soda.

Look at the graph below: Which season is least active?

FAST MOVERS: In an eruption, lava can travel up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour)!


Mason’s data (shown below) found a pattern in volcanic eruptions–something geologists have sought for over a century.

Number of eruptions

Season in the last 300 years


(Dec.-Feb.) 1,185


(Mar.-May) 1,117


(Jun.-Aug.) 1,013


(Sept.-Nov.) 1,026

* indicates a gap in the scale

Note: Table made from bar graph.

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