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20 years

Researchers: Climate change affects frequency of volcanic eruptions

Arenal eruption

December 30th, 2012 ( A study that was carried out in the Central American Pacific revealed that the increase in temperatures caused by climate change has an influence on volcanic activity.


The investigation was carried out by the Geomar Helmholtz Center and Harvard University.


Geologists have studied the effects of eruptions on the Earth’s temperatures for years; however, this team decided to study the contrary effect. In order to do so, they analyzed various volcanoes in Central America over the course of 10 years, and in doing so, were able to reconstruct the volcanic history of the past 460,000 years.


The result was that there are significantly longer periods of volcanic activity that coincide with the increase of global temperatures and melting glacial ice.


Marion Jegen, one of the investigators, explained that in times of global heating, the weight of the continents decreases because the glacial ice melts, whilst the weight on the oceans’ tectonic plates increases. This causes the magma to be under increased pressure under the tectonic plates, and is therefore more capable of finding its way through routes that raise it to the surface.


The cooling process after this phenomenon is much slower than the heating, according to the researchers.


According to the researchers, the Earth is approaching the peak of a hot climate cycle, however, the researchers did not say whether the peak of this cycle has been accelerated due to human activity.

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