British scientists are warning of another possible side effect of climate change: a surge of dangerous volcanic eruptions.
Researchers say the melting of polar ice sheets from global warming and the resulting stress placed on the earth's crust from rising sea levels will increase eruptions in the years to come.
University College London climate expert Dr Bill McGuire says there could also be an increase in undersea earthquakes and tsunamis.
NEW ZEALAND - Scientists have discovered a film of molten magma under the central North Island. As a result of the find, monitoring of the potentially explosive Taupo Volcanic Zone, the scene of enormous eruptions in the past, will be improved. It was thought magma lurked in unconnected pockets under volcanoes and geothermal zones, but new measurements have revealed the molten rock lies across a zone 50 kilometres wide and 160km long, northeast of Taupo. "The key is that it is like a continuous film wetting the surface. The wet surface is right across the Taupo Volcanic Zone, not just little blobs under each geothermal system or volcano." When the system is stable, a layer of hot rock with its small amount of magma provides the heat necessary to fuel more than 20 geothermal systems in the region. But if there is too much magma it can build up at shallow depths, eventually leading to a giant eruption. About 26,000 years ago such an explosion formed what is now Lake Taupo. Until now there had been little evidence about the extent of the magma system under the central North Island. "Eruptions from the Taupo area are enormous, the scale is difficult to imagine."