Novel hypothesis goes underground to predict future of Greenland ice sheet

by Penn State, February 2,  2019 in ScienceDaily

Paleoclimatic records indicate that most of Greenland was ice-free within the last 1.1 million years even though temperatures then were not much warmer than conditions today. To explain this, the researchers point to there being more heat beneath the ice sheet in the past than today.

Data show that when the Iceland hot spot — the heat source that feeds volcanoes on Iceland — passed under north-central Greenland 80 to 35 million years ago, it left molten rock deep underground but did not break through the upper mantle and crust to form volcanoes as it had in the west and east. The Earth’s climate then was too warm for Greenland to have an ice sheet, but once it cooled the ice sheet formed, growing and shrinking successive with ice ages.