Earth scientists believe that the melting of glaciers in Iceland will lead to uplift and increased volcanic activity, as concluded in a new study by geophysicist Þóra Árnadóttir and others, awaiting publication in Journal of Geophysical Research.
Glaciers in Iceland have been receding in recent decades and if the development will continue they will likely disappear in 150-200 years, ruv.is reports.
The volume of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, has decreased by more than 400 square km (154 square miles) since 1890, which is almost three times the size of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, another of Iceland’s largest.
Other glaciers in Iceland are also retreating fast.
This releases pressure on the earth’s crust below the glaciers, leading to increased production of magma in the mantle—at a great depth—which is provided with easier access to the surface.
The study’s authors believe that the area below Vatnajökull will be most subject to increase of magma flow will as it is considered to be the center of the hot spot below Iceland.
Vatnajökull also has the most active volcanoes in Iceland, including Grímsvötn.
The increase of magma flow below the country could amount 0.2 cubic km per year. In the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010, 0.3 cubic km of volcanic matters reached the surface.