Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wall St. Journal: Global Warming Likely to Induce Earthquakes and Volcanoes

The Wall St. Journal is reporting that global warming is likely to spur seismic activity - the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes!

Get this, regarding the work of geoscientist Allen Glazner of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:
When he analyzed 800,000 years of activity from about 50 volcanoes in eastern California (the age of rocks formed from volcanic ash can be determined by radioactive dating), Prof. Glazner found that "the peaks of volcanic activity occurred when ice was retreating globally. At first I thought it was crazy, but other scientists also found evidence that climate affects volcanism." The likely mechanism: glacial retreat lifts pressure that had kept the magma conduit closed.
When it comes to global warming and earthquakes, geoscientist Patrick Wu of the University of Calgary warns that:
"The pressure of the ice sheet suppresses earthquakes, so removing that load triggers them."


Insurance companies were worried enough about global warming causing an increase in severe weather, such as hurricanes and tornados. But earthquakes and volcanoes...

This is something that I've never heard mentioned among predictions of the consequences of global warming, and yet it makes sense. We seem to have another powerful example of the safety, security, economic, health and overall quality of life risks posed by global warming.

I'll be on the lookout for more information on this mind-boggling subject.

Hopefully all of you in earthquake country have your earthquake kits ready.

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