Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Are we seeing an increase in volcanic activity?

21 July, 2015 - 10:11 -- John Burton

Readers of my blogs and published writings will probably be aware of my prediction that a major volcanic eruption poses one of the biggest threats to life on earth.

I am not a volcanologist, but checking the daily updates on eruptions I seem to detect an increase in volcanic activity. For instance, yesterday the Colima Volcano in Mexico was “atypical”, displaying “a kind of activity not seen since it underwent a strong eruption in 1913.”

Meanwhile hundreds of tourists are stranded because airports (including the main one on Java) are closed because of eruptions from two volcanoes. (Images of Mount Sinabung releasing pyroclastic flows make uncomfortable viewing.) And volcanic activity continues in Japan, Peru and elsewhere.

As I argued in a recent blog, the melting of the polar ice caps will reduce the weight of snow and ice on the Himalayas, which may cause the tectonic plates to rise faster, thereby causing more earthquakes.

It’s also possible that, as sea levels rise, the changes in the weight of the oceans around the Pacific ring of fire will trigger more volcanic eruptions. And as I have pointed out with monotonous regularity, think what a Tambora size eruption would do.

As I write six airports in Indonesia are closed. But, unlike when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010 leaving travellers marooned at airports around the world, these closures are barely being reported outside Indonesia. But what if…

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