New data show strikingly regular patterns, from weeks to eons
This topographic map of Earth’s ocean floor in the Atlantic ocean reveals thousands of sub-oceanic volcanoes along the mid-Atlantic ridge. Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6205/32.summary
Vast ranges of volcanoes hidden under the oceans are presumed by scientists to be the gentle giants of the planet, oozing lava at slow, steady rates along mid-ocean ridges. But a new study shows that they flare up on strikingly regular cycles, ranging from two weeks to 100,000 years–and, that they erupt almost exclusively during the first six months of each year. The pulses–apparently tied to short- and long-term changes in earth’s orbit, and to sea levels–may help trigger natural climate swings. Scientists have already speculated that volcanic cycles on land emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide might influence climate; but up to now there was no evidence from submarine volcanoes.
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