updated 1:33 p.m. ET, Sun., April 18, 2010
OSLO - A thaw of ice caps in coming decades caused by climate change may trigger more volcanic eruptions by removing a vast weight and freeing magma from deep below ground, research suggests.
While that's not the case with Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which is too small and too light to affect local geology, other volcanoes on the island nation are seen as vulnerable.
"Our work suggests that eventually there will be either somewhat larger eruptions or more frequent eruptions in Iceland in coming decades," said Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a vulcanologist at the University of Iceland.
"Global warming melts ice and this can influence magmatic systems," he added. The end of the Ice Age 10,000 years ago coincided with a surge in volcanic activity in Iceland, apparently because huge ice caps thinned and the land rose.
Melting ice appears to be the main way in which global warming, blamed mainly on the use of fossil fuels, could have knock-on effects on geology, Sigmundsson said.
At high pressures such as under an ice cap, they reckon that rocks cannot expand to turn into liquid magma even if they are hot enough. "As the ice melts the rock can melt because the pressure decreases," Pagli said.
See my prediction at
No psychic powers involved, just a little knowledge of science.