Global Mapping of Future Glaciovolcanism

Global and Planetary Change

We created a global database of glacierized volcanoes, using a projection optimized for each volcano, to identify locations where land ice (glaciers and ice sheets) and volcanoes co-exist on Earth. Our spatial database melds the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Database (SGVD) and the Randolph Glacier Inventory 6.0 (RGI). We identified all Holocene volcanoes within the SGVD that have glacier ice within radii of 1 km, 2.5 km, and 5 km, and thus have the potential to impact or be impacted by surrounding ice. Our analysis shows that 245 Holocene volcanoes have glacier ice within the specified radii, which are covered partly or fully by 2584 unique glaciers or the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The volcanoes are located in all major volcano-tectonic settings, although the majority (72%) are in subduction zones built on continental crust (greater than 25 km thick). They also cover the majority of the typical compositional ranges for igneous rocks (basalt to rhyolite). Twenty-nine volcanoes, or 12%, have at least 90% ice cover within 5 km, which together comprise 36% of global glacier area on volcanoes. About 20,000 people live within 5 km of a glacierized volcano, while 160 million people live within 100 km of a glacierized volcano and could be impacted by lahars and/or disruption of their water sources during future eruptions. By merging our database with existing ice thickness model estimates we find 850 ± 290 km3 of ice within 5 km of volcanic vents globally. We compare the eruption history, ice volume, and nearby population estimates to identify the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth. The combination of volcano locations and ice thickness estimates allows us to identify 20 (out of 245) glacierized volcanoes that are most likely to experience ‘thick’ ice eruptions, while the vast majority are more likely to experience ‘thin’ ice eruptions.


Benjamin Edwards, William Kochtitzky

Tableau Author(s)

Sarah Battersby