I've read that when global temperature increases significantly, liquid magma can make it's way closer to the surface of earth, causing increased volcanic activity and earthquakes. Is there scientific evidence of this?

  • $\begingroup$ No, it's not real. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ There was actually a New Scientist feature article a few years ago on something similar. Basically, yes you can increase atmospheric temperature enough that volcanism increases are measurable due to changes in the crustal thermal gradient. However, life on Earth would be long dead long before that happens! (a bit of a "so what?" article with a hyperbolic title!) $\endgroup$
    – winwaed
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/4912/… (but I can't mark it as such because it does not have an accepted answer) $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ Intuitively, I don't see how higher temperature would have a significant effect, unless, as winwaed says it was much higher, like a couple or a few hundreds of degrees. I can see, over time that shifting, melting or growing glaciers and changes in the mass on different parts of the planet and in the oceans could certainly have some effect and a few degrees would be enough to do that, but the effect would take a long time to get noticed, like at least a century, probably longer. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


Define 'significant' effect. Yes, in principle, both volcanoes and major fault lines can, in some cases, be affected by higher global temperatures. It works like this: higher temperatures cause glacial melt and thermal expansion of seawater, which causes sea level to rise. In ocean sediments and coastal aquifers this raises the hydrostatic pressure, increasing groundwater circulation, and hence providing more 'lubrication' to fault planes, and increasing the seepage above magma chambers. However, the effect is small.


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