Isostatic rebound and our rocky future

“One example of where relatively small changes to geological stress can have a big impact on volcanic activity is the Pavlov volcano in Alaska. As McGuire describes, this volcano only erupts during Autumn and Winter. At that time storms ride up into a nearby ocean zone, pushing an average 10cm or 15cm rise in sea level. The added weight of the water is enough to torque the crust and push magma out. Now imagine the kind of extra volcanic activity that could result from 1, 6, or 250 feet of global sea level rise under the raging rate of human-caused warming and you begin to understand the concern.”We have let the Genie out of the bottle, It will never be the same again. 6C will melt most if not the entire ice caps. imagine how much ‘Torgue’ that will put on the plates?
Another great link from Robertscribbler

“Between about 20,000 and 5,000 years ago, our planet underwent an astonishing climatic transformation. Over the course of this period, it flipped from the frigid wasteland of deepest and darkest ice age to the – broadly speaking – balmy, temperate world upon which our civilisation has developed and thrived. During this extraordinarily dynamic episode, as the immense ice sheets melted and colossal volumes of water were decanted back into the oceans, the pressures acting on the solid Earth also underwent massive change. In response, the crust bounced and bent, rocking our planet with a resurgence in volcanic activity, a proliferation of seismic shocks and burgeoning giant landslides.
Climate Change will shake the Earth

“The disappearing ice, sea-level rise and floods already forecast for the 21st century are inevitable as the earth warms and weather patterns change – and they will shift the weight on the planet. Professor McGuire calls this process “waking the giant” – Something that can be done with just a few gigatonnes of water in the right – or wrong – place.The untold – and terrifying – story behind the earthquake that devastated Nepal last Saturday morning begins with something that sounds quite benign. It’s the ebb and flow of rainwater in the great river deltas of India and Bangladesh, and the pressure that puts on the grinding plates that make up the surface of the planet.Recently discovered, that causal factor is seen by a growing body of scientists as further proof that climate change can affect the underlying structure of the Earth.”

Our planet is always on the move, but sometimes it is more restless than usual. As the last ice age came to an end, around 10,000 years ago, there was a surge in volcanic activity as ice caps melted, decreasing pressure on the Earth’s crust.

Since then our planet has reached a steady state, with around 50 volcanoes erupting each year and around 150 earthquakes greater than magnitude six. But geo-hazards expert Bill McGuire is concerned that human-induced climate change may bring a resurgence in activity in the coming centuries. “In areas of major ice loss, such as Alaska, Iceland, the Andes and Himalayas we may see a rise in earthquakes, volcanism and landslides” says McGuire, who describes this scenario in Waking the Giant. “It only takes the pressure of a handshake to trigger a quake or volcanic blast in a primed system.”
Releasing the pressure on a restless earth
This blog has been edited on the 17 May 2018 to include this interview on Radio Ecoshock titled:  Earth Quake Time Bombs.


I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

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25 comments on “Isostatic rebound and our rocky future
  1. Kevin Hester says:

    “Tides, winds and ocean currents play a role in these regional differences, but an increasingly important mover and shaker is the solid Earth itself. Global warming is not just affecting the surface of our world; it’s making the Earth move under our feet.”

    “NASA Discusses rising sea levels
    Unless a volcano or earthquake are in the news, we tend to think of our home planet as solid rock. But 50 miles below our feet, there’s a layer thousands of miles thick that can flow like a liquid over thousands of years. The tectonic plates of Earth’s crust float on this viscous layer, called the mantle, like a vanilla wafer on a very thick pudding.”


  2. Kevin Hester says:

    “During the last ice age, Greenland’s ice sheet was much larger than now, and its enormous weight caused Greenland’s crust to slowly sink into the softened mantle rock below. When large parts of the ice sheet melted at the end of the ice age, the weight of the ice sheet decreased, and the crust began to rebound. It is still rising, as mantle rock continues to flow inwards and upwards beneath Greenland.”


  3. Kevin Hester says:

    “As the Greenland ice sheet creaks and cracks, scientists are listening.
    Since the 1990s, researchers have seen a rise in the number of glacial earthquakes emanating from Greenland’s glaciers—earthquakes that stem from massive blocks of ice calving from glacier fronts. Nearly half of the glacial earthquakes in the past quarter century occurred between 2011 and 2013, a team of researchers has now found after digging through seismic data. These earthquakes could be a signal of a warming climate’s effect on the stability of the ice sheet itself.”


  4. Kevin Hester says:

    We are in for a very, very rocky future.


  5. chura87 says:

    Reblogged this on Chura Writer and commented:
    One of the minor threads in my novel, Katsuren, concerns the discovery of a rocky structure submerged a few meters off the coast of Yonaguni, in Okinawa. It is darkly fascinating to think about something that once was above the waterline now being submerged. One always asks, Why? How? Isostatic rebound is one answer. Here is what Kevin Hester has to say about isostatic rebound.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin Hester says:

    “A leading theory, presented by Dr. Bill McGuire, Hugh Tuffin, J. Maclennan, Peter Huybers and many others is that changes in stress to the Earth’s crust caused by the loss of billions of tons of mass by ice sheets and the displacement of those billions of tons into the world’s ocean system spurred previously stable magma systems into a chaotic displacement.”Chaotic displacement!!
    Think about that for a second or two.
    Critically we must consider that we are in the early stages of this ‘event’ and there is a 10 to 30 year lag in cause and effect of warming from our emissions.
    It is logical to think that as the catastrophe progresses we will see more and more severe seismic, thermal, volcanic and weather events ramping up in a non-linear manner.


  7. Kevin Hester says:

    “A leading theory, presented by Dr. Bill McGuire, Hugh Tuffin, J. Maclennan, Peter Huybers and many others is that changes in stress to the Earth’s crust caused by the loss of billions of tons of mass by ice sheets and the displacement of those billions of tons into the world’s ocean system spurred previously stable magma systems into a chaotic displacement. In addition, direct melting of glaciers on slope systems, rising seas and even changes in flood frequency at individual volcanoes, faults and zones of steep topography can result in heightened rates of eruption, earthquakes and instances of slope collapse.
    This evidence is causing scientists to investigate feedbacks between warming and potential increases in volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis. A set of events that may also risk the destabilization of undersea methane hydrate stores through the slope collapse and enhanced magma heating mechanisms as well.”


  8. Kevin Hester says:

    “If you look at the geological record of the end of the last ice age, there’s something that crops up that’s more than a little bit disturbing. The approximate 10,000 year period in which 4 degrees Celsius of warming took place was also punctuated by a rash of intense volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis.”


  9. Kevin Hester says:

    “Here’s how climate change can lead to more earthquakes, according to scientist emeritus at the US Geological Survey and CEO of earthquake app Temblor Ross Stein:”


  10. Kevin Hester says:

    “The most spectacular geological effects were reserved for high latitudes. Here, the crust across much of northern Europe and North America had been forced down by hundreds of metres and held at bay for tens of thousands of years beneath the weight of sheets of ice 20 times thicker than the height of the London Eye. As the ice dissipated in soaring temperatures, the crust popped back up like a coiled spring released, at the same time tearing open major faults and triggering great earthquakes in places where they are unheard of today.”


  11. Kevin Hester says:

    “Although we have been aware of the impact of volcanism on the climate for quite some time, the results presented in the study have disclosed that the opposite is also possible. “This pioneering work opens up new perspectives for interdisciplinary studies about the coupling between the solid Earth and the fluid Earth, and — for example — involving volcanologists, geomorphologists and climatologists,” concludes Sternai”


  12. Kevin Hester says:

    “Rampino said that explosive interactions of magma with coal deposits may also have released massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere which, in turn, triggered intense warming of the oceans.”
    Ouch, thats gonna hurt considering that isostatic rebound and a multitude of feedback loops mean we will see more earthquakes and volcanic activity!


  13. Kevin Hester says:

    “Why does the crust “bounce back”?
    “The earth comprises the crust, which is brittle, and the mantle, which is very thick. In between the mantle and the crust is a thin layer of about 80-200km called the asthenosphere, and it is quite plastic. So if you push down a rubber duck in water, it will sink. If you remove the force, it will bounce back. The crust does the same thing.”


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    Radio Ecoshock coverage of this aspect of the unraveling;


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    “Get Ready for More Volcanic Eruptions as the Planet Warms”.
    “A new study shows that even relatively small-scale climatic changes affect volcanic activity”


  16. Kevin Hester says:

    “He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier, which reduces the pressure on the mantle, allowing greater heat from the volcanic source to escape and then warm the ocean water.” Follow us: @GeologyTime on Twitter


  17. Kevin Hester says:

    Stuart Scott and Paul Beckwith explain the links between climate change and additional seismic activity;


  18. Kevin Hester says:

    :Underground magma triggered Earth’s worst mass extinction with greenhouse gases
    There are parallels between today’s and past greenhouse gas-driven climate changes.”


  19. Kevin Hester says:

    “The new study is “looking at maybe the smallest-magnitude climate change yet to show it has influence on volcanic activity,” says Ben Edwards, an associate professor of geology at Dickinson College. “To see this change in an interglacial period indicates that there’s an even more subtle relationship between climate change and volcanism” than scientists previously thought.”


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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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