Climate Change and Earthquakes

After reading Simon Lamb’s very interesting book on the Andes, Devil in the Mountain: A Search for the Origin of the Andes (2004, Princeton) and a chapter in it on how earth movement shapes climate and climate can affect earth movement I set it aside and moved on to other things. Now, on the heels of several major earthquakes in the world comes this set of studies, coincidentally timed, looking at whether and how climate change might affect major earth movements. While not making strong claims that such is known to be happening, all authors say there are serious and scientifically interesting questions to justify more research and study.

Periods of exceptional climate change in Earth history are associated with a dynamic response from the solid Earth, involving enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological and geomorphological activity. This response is expressed through the adjustment, modulation or triggering of a wide range of surface and crustal phenomena, including volcanic and seismic activity, submarine and sub-aerial landslides, tsunamis and landslide ’splash’ waves glacial outburst and rock-dam failure floods, debris flows and gas-hydrate destabilisation. Looking ahead, modelling studies and projection of current trends point towards increased risk in relation to a spectrum of geological and geomorphological hazards in a world warmed by anthropogenic climate change, while observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere.

You can read the editors’ introduction here, and see Joe Romm’s take on it at his Climate Progress.

One Response to Climate Change and Earthquakes

  1. Pingback: Ice Melt May Trigger More Volcanoes | All In One Boat

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