Greenhouse gas emissions directly from the movement of volcanic rocks can create massive global warming effects. According to a study, the effects could be more than previously believed. It may lead to changes in the way scientists estimate climate change.
The study, published in the journal, Nature Communications, noted that changes in the planet’s geology caused the largest temporary global warming of the past 65 million years.
The researchers, including those from the University of Birmingham in the UK, said one such role in climate change could be played by Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), extremely large accumulations of rocks forming when magma travelled through the crust towards the surface.
They created a model of changes in carbon emissions during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) – a short interval of maximum temperature lasting around 100,000 years some 55 million years ago.
As part of the study, the researchers calculated the greenhouse gas fluxes associated with the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP) – one of Earth’s largest LIPs that spans Britain, Ireland, Norway and Greenland.
The simulations by the researchers predicted that the volcanic rocks part of the NAIP could have initiated PETM climate change. According to the researchers, the PETM is the largest natural climate change event of this era.