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Will present day glacier retreat increase volcanic activity? Stress induced by recent glacier retreat and its effect on magmatism at the Vatnajokull ice cap, Iceland\ud

By C. Pagli and F. Sigmundsson


Global warming causes retreat of ice caps and ice sheets. Can melting glaciers trigger increased volcanic activity? Since 1890 the largest ice cap of Iceland, Vatnajokull, with an area of similar to 8000 km(2), has been continuously retreating losing about 10% of its mass during last century. Present-day uplift around the ice cap is as high as 25 mm/yr. We evaluate interactions between ongoing glacio-isostasy and current changes to mantle melting and crustal stresses at volcanoes underneath Vatnajokull. The modeling indicates that a substantial volume of new magma, similar to 0.014 km(3)/yr, is produced under Vatnajokull in response to current ice thinning. Ice retreat also induces significant stress changes in the elastic crust that may contribute to high seismicity, unusual focal mechanisms, and unusual magma movements in NW-Vatnajokull

Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Year: 2008
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