One More Way in which Global Warming Can Kill You

Melting the glaciers might trigger massive volcanic collapses, like the one that occurred during the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens but with less warning and more panic. Or at least, that’s the sensationalized version of a paper in this week’s Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. Lucia Capra looked at the dates of volcanic collapses during the last ~30,000 years and found that most of them occurred during periods of abrupt deglaciation.

Work done in Iceland has already shown a correlation between eruption volume and changing glacial cover. The kinds of volcanic collapse Capra talks about, though, are slightly different: rather than a simple outpouring of lava, these eruptions are initiated by a landslide. They start with a mountain that’s already been weakened by other developments in the volcano, and just need a little extra something – added ground water from climate change or glacial melt, for example – for the top to fall off and the whole mountain to blow. They’re much deadlier than Iceland’s nice effusive eruptions.

This note of doom only sounds for volcanoes that are currently covered by glaciers, of course. And the precise chronology of climate change, deglaciation, and volcanic collapse is still murky – the local paleohydrology of the volcanoes isn’t that well constrained, nor are the dates of many collapses. But still, if you felt like making another ridiculous global warming disaster flick, “melting ice caps set off explodey volcanoes explode explode fire boom” wouldn’t be a bad angle. Better than “it’s a hurricane AND a snowstorm AND a billion tsunamis!”, anyway.

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. External triggering of volcanic eruptions | Highly Allochthonous on 15 Jun 2012 at 5:35 pm

    [...] would fit in with recent speculations about the effect of melting ice sheets and glaciers on volcanic activity (pronouncements of [...]

Comments

  1. sciencewoman wrote:

    I’ve always been a fan of the ultimate Seattle disaster story. Cascadian earthquake, triggers tsunami, and also causes lahars on Mt. Ranier where weak hydrothermally altered rocks form slopes covered by snowcaps. And ~100,000 people live on old lahar deposits.

  2. yami wrote:

    But can you work in North Korean nukes to that story?

  3. Lab Lemming wrote:

    How many climatologically significant volcanoes were glaciated?
    Pinatubo? Nah
    el Chichon? Maybe very minor
    Mt. Agung? Nah
    Santa Maria? Nah
    Krakatoa? Nah
    Tambora? Nah
    Call me cheap, but I’d rather not shell out $30 to read this article from home.

  4. long johnson wrote:

    HYDROGEN BOMB (Home-made, non-explosive).
    Slow Motion Thermonuclear Generator.
    No radiation. No Emissions. No Waste Stream.
    Generates clean, safe, nearly-free heat/electricity.
    Not for Sale:
    Build-it-yourself for free, using junk parts, like I did.

    Contemporary Thermonuclear Physics, the unfortunate brain-child of “Big Bang” hegenomodistic military thinkers, was born in a wasteful and destructive “BIG BANG” atomic weapon by compressing protons to the awesome level of critical proton fusion density, which always produces catastrophic heat, sufficient to vaporize or destroy anything within miles in every direction.

    But what happens when a lesser objective is to produce a mere proton fusion “WHIMPER” instead of a big “BANG?”

    The simple answer is, an enverlasting conrnucopia of useful controlled proton fusion energy, sufficient to power everything on Earth, and predictably reverse the ever-downward spiral of pollution and global warming brought about by greenless man-made activity.

    Here’s how I built my modified version of the SLOW MOTION THERMONUCLEAR GENERATOR from a few scraps of junk material by following the simple instructions obtained from a recent patent application which has since been hushed-up by the Energy Cartel to prevent this cheap, home-made energy technology from ever emerging into common useage. God, save the Energy Cartel if this knowledge ever reaches the poor, energy-starved people around the World.

    The following is taken directly from the original patent application.

    SCALE MODEL DEMONSTRATION

    A person skilled in the art can readily demonstrate the general concept of this invention at a controlled output level, using the following components, assembled as a series-wired, closed electrical loop: (1) graphite anode: a plain graphite cylinder containing pure water; (2) composite cathode: a mass of carbon, graphite, or refractory metal or alloy, of any convenient shape, coated or layered with permeable,
    non-electrically conductive, ceramic refractory, as previously described. The composite cathode is centrally and axially immersed in the water-filled anode cylinder; and (3) a simple, disposable flash camera circuit powered by a 1.5volt penlight battery:

    The positive leg of the camera circuit’s power capacitor is electrically connected to the anode; the negative leg is electrically connected to the inner cathode core. The xenon side of the 1.5VDC flash camera circuit functions as the source of the high voltage required to liberate and drive H+ cations from the pure water into the micro-partitions of the composite cathode. The adjustable high voltage HVDC exerts a 360-degree, positive (+) electrostatic force field, which completely surrounds the partitioned H+ cation particles. This arrangement substantially alters the kinematic variables relative to H+ cation fusion probability at sub-critical density.

    H+ cations, under control of the electromotive potential of the HVDC power supply, continuously attempt to traverse the electrical circuit, moving in the direction of the power supply’s negative terminal. Liberated H+ cations penetrate the micro-partitions of the cathode intact, but only because of the absence of the availability of neutralizing free electrons at the composite cathode’s exterior surface. Thus, the outer-most layer(s) of the composite cathode function(s) as a random inlet check valve, relative to incoming H+ cations. Inherent safety is due to the electrically controlled admission of a relatively small quantity of H+ cations into the composite cathode during any increment of time so that any/all radiation is absorbed in the form of sensible heat within the solid refractory cathode.

    CAUTION: Caution is advised due to the shock hazard of the disposable flash camera circuit, which is potentially lethal. Safety Note: To eliminate the shock hazard, carefully discharge the flash circuit power capacitor (plastic-handle screwdriver, okay), and then snip one of the legs of the power capacitor. However, this will restrict quantitative heat flow measurement by at least an order of magnitude approximation, due to loss of maximum peak amplitude during HV pulses.

    Pat App Web Site:

    http://www.slow-motionthermonuclear.com/pat.html

  5. yami wrote:

    Were these all collapses?

    Half her examples are from the Andes, most of the rest are Mexico and Ecuador. Then there’s the Cascades, Egmont, and Meru. Not climatologically significant, perhaps, but the people living nearby probably don’t care about that.

  6. Lab Lemming wrote:

    firstly, this paper deals with ovlcanic edifice collapse that is NOt associated with an eruption, so the Mt. St. Helens analogy is flawed. Non-volcanic mountains (e.g. the Southern alps) also undergo an increase in mass wasting post-glaciation, so that’s really not news.

    Secondly, the relevance of the dates is impossible to judge without reading not only the referenced papers, but also all other studies of the same events, since there is no other way to rule out chronological cherry picking. I once read a G3 paper where the authors, in order to get data for their supercontinental-geocycle-800-million-year-timescale-bullshit-hypothesis, picked a reference that misdated the sedimentary basin where I did my thesis by 1 billion years. So there is no way to evaluate their numbers.

    Thirdly, when glaciated volcanoes do have significant eruptions, those eruptions invariably melt the glaciers on a timescale faster than that of climate change. So if you REALLY want to save the people of Seattle, shrink the Ranier glacier via global warming as fast as you can, so that there is less ice mass to melt when it does finally blow.

    Finally, if you want to melt those glaciers pre-eruption without global warming, perhaps a household cold-fusion generator will provide the thermal power you need.

  7. yami wrote:

    Hmm. Maybe I should go back to blogging about how everything is bullshit, it *is* more fun that way. And LL, I’m glad you’re around to cover my ass when I don’t do more than skim a paper before summarizing it :)

  8. blah wrote:

    Recycle, it is a good thing to do. P.S.this is not a 12 year old

  9. Revenge of Blah wrote:

    Luke, i am your father. Go to runescape.com at 5:00 or else……

  10. Not Blah wrote:

    Global Warming Sucks!!!

  11. Not Blah wrote:

    Polar bears will die in 20 years says scientests at WWF. P.S. If you know anything you will recycle!! P.S.S. I am NOT John Pinkerton!!

  12. Nathan Brown wrote:

    I’ve never heard of volcanoes being affected by global warming. With more and more evidence about the possible fall out from global warming it seems like a good idea to make serious changes before it is too late!

  13. guy cortez wrote:

    Ahhhhh big volcano attaks inecent peoples

  14. guy cortez wrote:

    ahhh!big volcano takes ove the world and ps. don’t dis krakatoa!!!

  15. guy cortez wrote:

    dude this site is like two years old

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*