Iceland is rising. No, it’s not a thrilling new ride at a theme park, Iceland is literally being lifted by climate change. This means the country is getting more land freed up by melting ice, but it could also mean that more volcanoes will be interrupting flights and wreaking general havoc over the country.
New research done by the University of Arizona and the University of Iceland indicates that the earth’s crust is rising at a much faster rate amid global warming over the last 30 years. “It’s similar to putting weights on a trampoline. If you take the weights off, the trampoline will bounce right back up to its original flat shape,” said Richard Bennett, a geologist at the University of Arizona and one of the authors of the new research.
Scientists have known for quite some time that land freed from ice will rise, but the accelerated loss of the ice is making the land rise faster and possibly encouraging activity in some of the Earth’s volcanoes.
Using 62 GPS devices placed on rocks throughout Iceland, the researchers tracked movement – in some cases since 1995. Buried rocks are released from the earth as the surface rises. “They transport the heat like a hot potato as they move from high pressure to lower pressure and enter into conditions that promote melting,” Bennett said. And that creates conditions that are ripe for eruptions.