Home > Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Science > Is Ice Melt Causing Volcanic Eruptions? . . . Maybe So!

Is Ice Melt Causing Volcanic Eruptions? . . . Maybe So!

(guest blog by Doyle Doss, published as-received)

The recent volcanic eruptions in Indonesia may have a simple rational scientific explanation; land ice melt.

The oceans have risen 4 inches in the last 50 years (wikipedia.org/Current sea level rise). Two inches of this rise is due to thermal expansion (the oceans have warmed over the same period). The other two inches of rise comes from land based ice melt; this is new water that has been added to the oceans.

A cubic foot of ocean water weighs 64.1 pounds. A 2 inch rise over one square mile (27,878,400 sq. ft. in a square mile) works out to 4,646,400 cubic feet of additional water which, when multiplied by 64.1 equals 297,834,240 pounds and then divided by 2,000 (lbs per ton), is 148,917.12 tons. Or very nearly 150,000 tons of increased water weight per square mile of ocean.

The Pacific Ocean covers 69,375,000 square miles (35% of the earth’s surface). The increase in weight of the Pacific Ocean over the last 50 years due to freshly introduced water from land ice melt is 10 Trillion 331 Billion 125 Million 200 Thousand TONS (69,375,000 X 148,917.12 = 1.03311252 × 10^13).

The Queen Mary II (one of the largest ships afloat) weighs 150,000 tons. Imagine almost 70 MILLION Queen Mary IIs evenly distributed over the entire Pacific Ocean (one for every square mile).

The Pacific Tectonic Plate lies beneath the Pacific Ocean and at 39,758,000 square miles is the largest of all tectonic plates. Now mentally “sink” the 40 Million of your Queen Mary IIs floating directly above the Pacific Tectonic Plate onto the seafloor.

The earth is not “solid” . . . the tectonic plates float on top of a molten interior. If you push downward evenly across the entire surface of a tectonic plate stress is introduced along the margins. The westward margin of the Pacific Plate is a subduction zone; the Pacific Plate is “diving” beneath the Eurasian Plate . . . as it plunges downward (under increased pressure from 40 Million QM IIs) it only stands to reason that lava from below is going to be vented upward, hence the recent Indonesian volcanic eruptions. (“Like popping a pimple,” commented a friend.)

The Earth is a closed system. Beside the occasional meteorite and continual sunlight nothing new is being added. This geologically rapid shifting of large amounts of water weight from the land masses to the oceans is creating an accumulating “out-of-balance” effect on the oceanic tectonic plates. The Earth’s tectonic plates will compensate for this “out-of-balance” condition by “adjusting” their boundaries. We are experiencing these adjustments as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and associated tidal waves

And as a footnote, this huge increase in ocean water weight may be the contributing factor in the unusual intensity of this year’s earthquakes in Chili and Haiti and probably has had an influence in the ongoing Icelandic eruptions.

(The author is a practical scientist and inventor whose website is heatstick.com.)

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  1. Independently Logical
    2011/10/31 at 14:30

    Take into account the weight of 7 billion people on the earths surface at an average of 150lbs; 105 trillion lbs of weight causing pressure. That is not counting the extra food raised and grown to feed the people. Yes we are a closed system, but placing mass in other areas, or above ground versus below the earth’s surface will have an effect.

  2. 2010/12/10 at 15:27

    The increased mass of the Pacific is indeed approximately 10 trillion tonnes for a two inch rise, but talking about how many Queen Mary’s this is equivalent to is pretty daft unless one has any idea what the mass of the Pacific ocean is equivalent to – several trillions of Queen Mary’s, in which you would never notice a paltry additional 70 million. But, if you want to imagine it, then since there are around 170 sq.km of Pacific floor, then this equates to one Queen Mary per 4.25 sq.km (well over a square mile), which is tiny. The only point worth making is what is the increase in pressure on the seafloor, preferably normalized to the ‘normal’ pressure. When we calculate this we find that the average increase in pressure on the seabed over 50 years is only around 10 parts per million, or 0.01%. A 0.01% change in pressure isn’t going to cause any significant ‘adjustments’ to tectonic plates – that’s just laughable.

    Let’s get a reality check on this. The actual pressure change on the seabed is of the order of 500 pascals. Atmospheric/barometric pressure variations of over 100 millibars or 10,000 pascals are quite normal – twenty times as much.

    Or, an Olympic-sized swimming pool contains a volume of 2.5 million litres of water, and is 2 metres deep. If we added water to increase the height by 1mm we would have increased the pressure on the floor of the pool by 500 parts per million, 50 times as much. Put it another way, the percentage increase in pressure on the seabed of the Pacific ocean due to 2 inches of additional water is equivalent to the percentage increase in pressure in an Olympic swimming pool if the height of the water is increased by 0.02mm, about a third the thickness of a human hair, by the addition of 25 litres, or by a child getting into the pool.

    • 2010/12/10 at 21:00

      “It’s worse than we thought…”

      Since I had slipped a decimal place, the 10ppm equates to 0.001% rather than 0.01%. The other figures are OK.

      So we have a 0.001% increase in pressure on the seabed over 50 years, or 0.00002% per annum. Wow, that’s sure going to cause some catastrophes!

      “We are experiencing these adjustments as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and associated tidal waves…this huge increase in ocean water weight [all +0.00002% of it this year!] may be the contributing factor in the unusual intensity of this year’s earthquakes in Chili [sic] and Haiti and probably has had an influence in the ongoing Icelandic eruptions.”

      Yeah, right.

  3. 2010/12/09 at 21:00

    There are many problems with this hypothesis, not the least of which is that the weight of the water did not magically appear out of nothing. The weight has always been there, whether on New Zealand, Antartica or Fiji. So there is nothing extra pressing.

    The second major mote in the eye is the fact that the surface of the planet is like the epidermis of your body. growing a wart is not going to cause you to hemorage because the increase in weight on that one spot is insignificant to the total weight of the area of the body. So it is with a few million tons of water compared to the weight of the inner crust and mantel.

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