The dormant volcanoes in the B.C.’s Garibaldi Volcanic Belt are one of the most unique in the world. Studying the history of their distinct rock formations makes Southwest B.C. a prime location to diagnose climate change patterns.
UBC Volcanologist Kelly Russell and a team of researchers headed to the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt to map out how the B.C. climate has behaved for the past two-million years. They do so by studying glacial volcanoes—or how volcanoes erupt during icy conditions.
Russell is aiming to provide a stronger linkage between volcanism and glaciation—the formation, movement, and retreat of glaciers.
Volcanoes that erupt under glaciers could cause them to be more explosive; the eruption could freeze the flow of magma, and it results in landforms and deposits. Scientists can then diagnose when and how a volcano has erupted.
Russell says that the volcanoes in this region have erupted frequently over the past two-million years (by ancient dating standards). In particular, the eruptions that occurred during ice periods could be key to denoting how the climate will fluctuate in B.C.’s future.