Undersea Volcanoes Linked To Climate Change By Researchers

Two new studies have revealed that the climate-driven rise and fall of the sea level over the course of the past million years matches up with the valleys and ridges on the seafloor, which suggests influence by underwater volcanic eruptions during the ice age.

The lead author of one of the studies, Maya Tolstoy, was quoted by Discovery News as saying that “the deep seafloor matters in the long-term climate cycle.” Tolstoy is a marine geophysicist at New York’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Tolstoy’s study was conducted at the East Pacific Rise spreading ridge, located off the shore of western South America. The study found connections between ice age cycles and seafloor corrugations which extends back 800,000 years. She discovered that when glaciers expand and the sea level drops, more lava oozes from the ridge volcanoes. Her findings were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on February 5, 2015.

Richard Katz, the co-author of a separate study published in the journal Science, indicated that sea levels rising as a result of ice sheets melting has an effect on underwater volcanoes.

“When ice sheets melt and sea level goes up, it has an effect on volcanoes under the sea”

Katz’ study was conducted separately from Tolstoy’s. The study took place at the junction between the Antarctic and Australia tectonic plates. The results of the study were similar to those of Tolstoy’s study.

Scientists believe plates pull away from spreading ridges, allowing new crust to cool, which then cracks, sinks, and creates a gap between the lines of volcanoes. The parallel volcanic ridges and valleys that are formed are some of the most visible features on the ocean’s floor.

Volcanoes on land surged in activity between 12,000 and 7,000 years ago which correlates with when the ice sheets shrunk after the most recent cold climate swing came to an end, according to Live Science.

The data obtained by Tolstoy with the help of colleagues at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution helped her understand patterns in the Earth’s volcanism. She told Scientific American in a telephone interview that it was “interesting” to see some of her instruments stuck in the lava.

“It was interesting to see my instruments stuck in it, and the lava is very shiny when it first comes out, and actually very pretty.”

Volcanoes seem to erupt when ocean tides are at their lowest point due to the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon, which corresponds with the six months of the year when the planet is pulling away from the sun, which loses its influence on the tides. This implies that the sea levels rise due to climate change and that they could emulate high tides and suppress submerged volcanic activity. Tolstoy took this a step further and connected volcanism to small shifts in the planet’s orbit around the sun which occur every 100,000 years. These tiny shifts would trigger ice ages, warm periods, and subsequently affect global sea levels which would in turn increase or suppress volcanic activity.

A DARPA research program has programmed a robot to cook by watching how-to cooking videos on YouTube, Inquisitr reported previously.

What do you think of the recent findings of these studies and the conclusions researchers have drawn from them?

[Image via Wikipedia]