The Feedback Loop No One Thought of: The Katla Volcano

It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature

For the past several weeks, I have wondered about the impact on the tectonic plates of the melted glacier water rushing from the poles towards the equator.  I looked at the relative depth of the water versus the depth of the lithosphere and concluded that we really had nothing significant to worry about regarding plate tectonics and global warming.

Not quite.  As usual, I spoke too soon.

The isostatic rebound caused when a huge chunk of ice is removed from its usual location to a location distributed across the entire surface of an ocean portends a seismically active world, according to Dr. Patrick Wu at the University of Calgary.  A cubic meter of ice weighs right around 2,000 pounds; multiply that weight by several hundred to a thousand meters and, voilà, one has a highly effective damper on the movement of the tectonic plates near the Earth’s polar regions.  Or any region where a glacier is present.

But as the centralized weight of glaciers gets redistributed, the tectonic plates in the polar regions will begin to slip and move, triggering all manner of seismic activity.  In the case of erupting volcanoes, those melted glaciers caused by global warming will trigger a negative feedback loop, countering global warming with some global cooling.    Volcanic ash thrown high into the stratosphere will block the Sun’s warmth from ever reaching the Earth’s surface, sending global temperatures plummeting.

All of this information has hit the US State Department with the force of a revelation.  The recent eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull  volcano, while picturesque and interesting, is actually quite ominous.  And that is because an Eyjafjallajokull eruption can trigger an eruption of its far more ominous neighbor, Katla.  The last time Katla erupted, it followed an eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano causing a mini “ice age” to descend on the Earth’s surface, circa 1780 or so.  When I suggest a dramatic temperature drop, I am suggesting that the Mississippi River could freeze just north of New Orleans.  If you thought this last Winter was cold, you have no idea what our Mother has in store for us and our carbon spewing lifestyles.

The mechanism behind Katla’s last eruption appears to be related to glacial melting as well.  When Eyjafjallajokull erupted in the mid 1780’s, it melted the glacier covering Katla’s volcanic crater.  With the weight of the glacier lifted, Katla erupted spewing poison gas all over Scotland and Ireland, killing hundreds (today, it could be thousands), and triggering the global cooling just mentioned.

Obviously we may be in store for even more dramatic and unexpected effects caused by our offensive lifestyles.  An argument could even be made that our holocaust in the US of some twenty million native Americans, along with the rejection of their culture, has resulted in the environmental collapse we are only now becoming aware of.  While I am certain Dennis Banks or Leonard Peltier would not be surprised by these thoughts, many Americans would be. 

It is an education that needs to take place.

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12 responses to “The Feedback Loop No One Thought of: The Katla Volcano

  1. don´t worry be happy, here is a link to live webcam from the volcano in Iceland

    http://www.mila.is/um-milu/vefmyndavelar/eyjafjallajokull-fra-thorolfsfelli/

    Maps and more you can find here:

    http://nammi.is/all-maps-of-iceland-c-121_153_399.html

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  4. Valid points:-)
    i have also been watching the amount of volcanic activity worldwide lately, the quakes, and the Yellowstone area in particular all suggest that we need to be planning for extreme cold events caused if they do go boom bigtime, as well as massive impacts on whatever landmass, it happens on, the undersea vents are still being found, and some of them also are no small potato’s either..
    we live in interesting times, and Nature is supreme, only our hubris at thinking we are so damn special allows the masses to forget that we do NOT rule the planet, it rules us.

  5. I read somewhere that activity had increased again last few days?

  6. A great native american quote

    “Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.”

  7. It was Laki that erupted in 1783-4, not Eyjafjallajökull or Katla, and Laki is not a subglacial volcano. So your article, while interesting, is bullshit in the 5th and 6th paragraphs. You need to learn to check your facts instead of being wildly sensationlist.

    • And you need to learn how to spell.

    • Bullshit is relative. I did miss the details, but the jist of the story is still relevant.

      I could use an editor, from time to time, since I don’t always have the time I need to check my details. That effort goes into checking my school and work-related stuff.

      The alternative is that no one writes about this issue and we are left either uninformed or tormented by Rupert Murdoch.

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