Iceland could experience a sharp increase in volcanic activity due to climate change, according to a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Based on measurements from 62 GPS devices, a research team found that Iceland is rising fast—in some locations by as much as 1.4 inches per year—in contrast to small island states and coastal areas that are rapidly being overtaken by sea level rise. “It’s similar to putting weights on a trampoline,” geologist Richard Bennett told The Guardian. “If you take the weights off, the trampoline will bounce right back up to its original, flat shape.”
For Iceland, that means the land is rising, and “there’s no way to explain that accelerated uplift unless the glacier is disappearing at an accelerated rate,” Bennett said.
“Besides being really weird, there are signs that this phenomenon could spell trouble for Iceland’s residents in the future,” Grist reports. “Geological evidence indicates that when the island went through a period of glacial melt 12,000 years ago, the rate of volcanic activity increased thirtyfold. Decreasing pressure on very hot rocks deep in the earth’s crust can cause them to melt, providing more magma for potential volcanic eruptions.”