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Increased capture of magma in the crust promoted by ice cap retreat in Iceland
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Geophysics.
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2011 (English)In: Nature Geoscience, ISSN 1752-0894, Vol. 4, no 11, 783-786 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate warming at the end of the last glaciation caused ice caps on Icelandic volcanoes to retreat. Removal of surface ice load is thought to have decreased pressures in the underlying mantle, triggering decompression melting, enhanced magma generation and increased volcanic activity(1-3). Present-day climate change could have the same effect, although there may be a time lag of hundreds of years between magma generation and eruption(4,5). However, in addition to increased magma generation, pressure changes associated with ice retreat should also alter the capacity for storing magma within the crust. Here we use a numerical model to evaluate the effect of the current decrease in ice load on magma storage in the crust at the Kverkfjoll volcanic system, located partially beneath Iceland's largest ice cap. We compare the model results with radar and global positioning system measurements of surface displacement and changes in crustal stress between 2007 and 2008, during the intrusion of a deep dyke at Upptyppingar. We find that although the main component of stress recorded during dyke intrusion relates to plate extension, another component of stress is consistent with the stress field caused by the retreating ice cap. We conclude that the retreating ice cap led to enhanced capture of magma within the crust. We suggest that ice-cap retreat can promote magma storage, rather than eruption, at least in the short term.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 4, no 11, 783-786 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-162692DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1269ISI: 000296723500018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-162692DiVA: diva2:462437
Available from: 2011-12-07 Created: 2011-12-05 Last updated: 2013-01-14Bibliographically approved

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Lund, Björn
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