- A recent paper found a link between glaciers and volcanism.
- As glaciers retreat because of climate change and other causes, volcanic activity tends to increase, according to the analysis.
- That means as the planet warms, there will likely be more volcanic eruptions.
A strong volcanic eruption in the Philippines forced over 50,000 people to evacuate and sent ash plumes over a mile into the sky on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, an eruption at a Japanese ski resort north of Tokyo caused avalanches that killed one person and trapped many others on the mountain.
These powerful volcanic events may be examples of what the world could look like in coming centuries due to an ominous trend. A recent study in the journal Geology suggests that volcanic activity is likely to increase as the planet warms from human-caused climate change.
The key, according to the researchers, is the relationship between glacial ice and subsurface magma.
To understand this effect, the team studied records of volcanic eruptions in Iceland from 5,500 to 4,500 years ago — when the climate was much colder than it is today. The researchers looked at ash deposits in the geologic record in Iceland and Europe, and figured out which periods had increased volcanic activity based on thicker, more widespread ash in lakes and bogs.
The team then analyzed these high-activity periods in relation to times of glacial retreat. They found that the number of eruptions declined as the climate cooled and glacial cover increased. During that time, there was also a reduction in the volume of lava that came out of Icelandic volcanoes.
The reverse was also true. When glaciers retreated, the researchers found that volcanic activity increased.
<img src="http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5a675dbea2444428028b53e7-2000/ap18023084609116.jpg" alt="Philippines Volcano" data-mce-source="AP Photo/Bullit Marquez" data-mce-caption="Mayon volcano spews red-hot lava in another eruption as seen from Legazpi city, Albay province, roughly 200 miles Read More Here