Climate change can cause volcanic eruptions


The evidence from a ten-year research project into the volcanoes of Central America indicates that climate change can also cause volcanic eruptions. Researchers have observations of ash layers in the seabed and have reconstructed the history of volcanic eruptions for the past 460,000 years. A clear match in patterns appeared after comparing previous patterns with the climate history. Periods of high volcanic activity followed fast global temperature increases and rapid melting of ice. Studies of other cores from the entire Pacific region also showed precisely the same pattern.

In periods of global warming the glaciers are melting on the continents much faster, causing sea level rises. Scientists from GEOMAR (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel) explain when the weight on the continents decreases, the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases; so the stress changes within in the Earth to open more routes for ascending magma. When the ice sheets melted and the ocean basins filled with water more volcanic eruptions, more earthquakes and sub-marine landslides occurred.

Climate change impacts Greenland Ice Cap (Credit: dsearls)


Volcanologist Bill McGuire explains that this is caused by the Earth’s crust bouncing and bending in response to the melting of the great ice sheets and the filling of the ocean basins. As ice sheets melted, the Earth below bounced back, while sea basins bended to take the additional water. McGuire pointed out that while these changes would not cause geological events to take place that would not have happened anyway at some point in the future, he did warn that these events could become more concentrated with climate change.

New study reveals that we are currently at the end of a really warm phase. The rate of global cooling at the end of the warm phases is much slower, so there are less dramatic stress changes during these times. However, the impact from human-made warming is still unclear based on current understanding.

According to Oxford University geologists Ben Mason and David Pyle. The Earth has volcanic seasons, with eruptions happening most frequently between November and April in the Northern Hemisphere. There are many sleeping volcanoes and fault lines under the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets that could potentially reawaken.

Volcanoes can impact climate change also. During major explosive eruptions huge amounts of volcanic gas, aerosol droplets, and ash are injected into the stratosphere. Injected ash falls rapidly from the stratosphere within several days to weeks and has little impact on climate change. But volcanic gases like sulfur dioxide can cause global cooling, while volcanic carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has the potential to promote global warming.

The most significant climate impacts from volcanic injections into the stratosphere come from the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid, which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulfate aerosols. The aerosols increase the reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space, cooling the Earth’s lower atmosphere or troposphere.

While sulfur dioxide released in contemporary volcanic eruptions has occasionally caused detectable global cooling of the lower atmosphere, the carbon dioxide released in contemporary volcanic eruptions has never caused detectable global warming of the atmosphere. This is probably because the amounts of carbon dioxide released in contemporary volcanism have not been of sufficient magnitude to produce detectable global warming.

Sources: GEOMAR , USGS, Yale

Featured image: Eyjafjallajökull eruption on May 13, 2010 (Credit: Sigurdur Jonsson/Wikipedia)

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  1. Temp rising will cause more heating at the core and If the ring of fire kicks up and these volcanos over react we better know we’re all the oil is because we will need it to keep the ice at bay or millions and millions will freeze.. then there’s no trees or vegetation left all to fast for anyone to catch up with to survive in time and from lack of sun.. can say frozen solid now while you still can ?

  2. When an ice age is in the glacial period, the cooling weather builds huge ice sheets, that can eventually be a couple of miles thick. Obvious a lot of weight on land that was free of ice and once the ice build back up, the weight increases and pushes down the land. When warming melts it, the weight is moved off the land rebounds. I would say that is a cause for some earthquakes as the land pushes back up. I have read somewhere where that is a reality, earthquakes, ruptures and all.

  3. No No No….. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami’s, excessive rainfall and lack of rainfall are not results of climate change.

    Rather climate change AND all the other occurrences are results of solar and cosmic actions due to our ever-shifting position in the galaxy.

    Once we understand there are no orbits – (the sun is moving through space at 220,000 kms per sec.) and we are in a spiral vortex in the wake of the sun (much like the air on the wingtip of a jet). We visit new areas of space in each spiral cycle, and the electromagnetic charges, radiation and other energies of that area of space influence our weather, tectonic plates, cloud intensity, etc etc…..and possibly also human development.*

    For the sun read Microwave, for the Earth read egg inside microwave. For Galaxy read VERY BIG Microwave – we f*ck with this planet at our own peril.

    *Radiation is known to cause genetic mutation, When mutation is global it’s called evolution.

  4. I think I remember reading somewhere that is the icecap on Greenland shrinks, the more potential there will be there for something called “whole earth ruptures”. Not sure what’s meant by that, however.

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