Is there a connection between climate change and earthquakes?



  1. 0 Votes

    Climate change affects the polar ice caps, and the polar ice caps are said to influence the crust of the Earth even with the presence of their weight on the tectonic plates, the motion of which spurs volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. A shift in this weight, such as that brought about by glacial melting, can affect the movement of these plates in the crust of the earth, as can the pressure brought about by increased water in the ocean.

    Changing dynamics beneath the earth’s crust can destabilize sesmic activity and increase the number of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

  2. 0 Votes

    Note that the suggestions in the other answer are mostly speculations and not backed up by any rigorous study. As Roland Burgmann, a geologist, says in the referenced article, more research is needed.

  3. 0 Votes

    I’d just like to add that while it seems there may be evidence suggesting that global warming contributes to increased seismic slippage, the study of earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis is often very speculative.  Scientists agree and disagree, and then are proved wrong by a seismic event and are baffled (meaning they start over again and talk about new theories).  An old professor of mine used to stress this over and over again–nothing about seismic activity can really be proven or predicted beyond a doubt, because testing is very difficult for random events like natural disasters.  I’m sure there will be more research done, but I doubt we will have a clear-cut answer anytime soon.

  4. 0 Votes

    There is some evidence that major climate shifts in the past resulted in increased seismic activity due to the unloading of glaciation into oceans and resulting uplift in the tectonic plates.  Such changes might be expected if a major melting were to occur in Greenland or Antartica, and there could be some effect as a result of continental glaciers melting as well. It is an area in need of further study, whether the theory is ultimately confirmed or disconfirmed, and other linkages between climatic, geologic, and hydrothermal processes are likely to be unveiled in the process.

    One of the most notable geologic effects of climate change is the surface change at the ice caps and the loss of much of the ice masses that have covered Greenland and Antarctica for thousands of years. Whether the changes include increased earthquakes or not, the coast of Greenland in the year 2050 will doubtless look very different from how it does today.

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