Staff writers from Germany report on Space Daily that, “When ice melts, the Earth spews fire.”
It has long been known that volcanic activity can cause short-term variations in climate. Now, researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany), together with colleagues from Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) have found evidence that the reverse process also occurs: Climate affects volcanic activity. Their study is now online in the international journal “Geology”.
The study findings are the result of an extensive investigation of volcanoes in Central America. They also took core samples from different parts of the Pacific ocean.
These cores had been collected as part of the International Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and its predecessor programmes. They record more than a million years of the Earth’s history.
A pattern was emerging that linked ice melts to volcanic eruptions. Study participant Dr. Marion Jegen’s explains that as continental size sheets of ice melt, they cause this to happen:
The weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma.