A comparison of time series of basaltic and silicic eruptions in eastern California over the last 400 kyr with the contemporaneous global record of glaciation suggests that this volcanism is influenced by the growth and retreat of glaciers occurring over periods of about 40 kyr. Statistically significant cross correlations between changes in eruption frequency and the first derivative of the glacial time series imply that the temporal pattern of volcanism is influenced by the rate of change in ice volume. Moreover, calculated time lags for the effects of glacial unloading on silicic and basaltic volcanism are distinct and are 3.2 ± 4.2 kyr and 11.2 ± 2.3 kyr, respectively. A theoretical model is developed to investigate whether the increases in eruption frequency following periods of glacial unloading are a response ultimately controlled by the dynamics of dike formation. Applying results from the time series analysis leads, in turn, to estimates for the critical magma chamber overpressure required for eruption as well as constraints on the effective viscosity of the wall rocks governing dike propagation.