Warmer world could be more explosive

Melting ice caps may trigger more volcanic eruptions, the New Scientist reported a geological study as saying.

The largest ice cap in Iceland, Vatnajökull, is disappearing at a rate of 5 cubic kilometres per year, the report said. Researchers from the UK and Iceland, whose study will appear in Geophysical Research Letters, say that as the ice disappears, extra magma is being produced below the Earth’s crust.

The situation in Iceland does not necessarily mean magma will be produced faster around the world, the report said, but the thinning ice may increase the likelihood of eruptions in places such as Antarctica and Alaska.

A separate study will also look at the effects of rising sea-levels on volcanoes. "We are going to see a massive increase in volcanic activity globally," Bill McGuire, of University College London, was reported as saying. "If we look back at previous warm periods, that is what happened."

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