Earthquakes and tsunamis are just the tip of the iceberg as climate change could lead to more “hazardous” geological events like volcanoes and landslides, experts have warned.
While rising temperature are predicted to cause the melting of ice, rise in sea level, heavy storms and rainfall, the Earth’s crust can be affected by all these phenomenon, according to papers published by the Royal Society. Even minor changes in the environment could spark off earthquakes and tsunamis.
Bill McGuire, of the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London, and the author of a review in the journal of research in the area, warns that warming temperatures could melt ice sheets and glaciers, thereby increasing the water content of oceans.
As the land “rebounds” after the weight of the ice has been removed - which could be as large as a kilometre in places like Greenland and Antarctica - then if, in the worst case scenario, all the ice were to melt, it could trigger earthquakes.
According to Prof McGuire, in Taiwan the lower air pressure created by typhoons was enough to “unload” the crust by a small amount and trigger earthquakes, reports the Scotsman.
Other consequences of rising temperatures include glacial lakes bursting out through rock dams and causing flash flooding in mountain regions like the Himalayas, with rock, ice and landslides as permafrost melts.