Ice: Melting Glaciers Trigger Earthquakes,
Tsunamis and Volcanoes
massive ice sheets of tremendous
weight. One cubic meter of ice
weighs nearly a ton.
"What happens is the weight of this thick ice puts a lot of stress on the earth," said geologist Patrick Wu. "The weight sort of suppresses the earthquakes, but when you melt the ice, the earthquakes get triggered."
Wu says it's like pressing a thumb against a soccer ball. Removing the thumb releases the pressure, and the ball soon resumes its original shape. When that “ball” is a planet, the rebound happens slowly, but just as surely.
Today's rebound effect began 10,000 years ago when the last ice age ended. Wu says as global warming continues to increase the rates of glacier melt, the rebound will happen more quickly. Global Temperatures (2500 B.C. to 2007 A.D.
Professor Wu is not alone in his opinions. In Antarctica, melting ice has caused increasing numbers of earthquakes and underwater mudslides. These are early warnings of the serious events that scientists believe are coming.
"All over the world evidence is stacking up that changes in global climate can and do affect the frequencies of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and catastrophic sea-floor landslides," wrote geological hazards professor, Bill McGuire, in New Scientist magazine. "Not only has this happened several times throughout Earth's history, the evidence suggests it is happening again."
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