World's Largest Volcanic Range May Lurk Beneath Antarctic ice

World's Largest Volcanic Range May Lurk Beneath Antarctic ice

We're used to the ocean depths holding a significant number of surprises, but not all of us stop to think about what might be lurking under the thick sheet of ice covering real estate in the Antarctic.

Geologists and ice experts say the range has many similarities to East Africa's volcanic ridge, which is now acknowledged to be the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

Dr Bingham was shocked to find the active peaks concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system, which stretches 3,500km from Antarctica's Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula. The researchers were able to get a definitive count in the area by analyzing the results of ice-penetrating radar carried by land vehicles and planes. Further, there's a risk that current warming could set off the volcanoes: scientists are anxious that melting ice would relieve some of the pressure, making eruptions easier. "After examining existing data on West Antarctica, I began discovering traces of volcanism".

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh remotely surveyed the underside of the ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock, like those of other volcanoes in the region whose tips push above the ice. Further research will help geologists better understand how volcanoes might influence changes in ice sheets over long timespans, while also improving our understanding of the continent's climatic past.

US stocks up as N Korea fears ease
On commodities markets, the safe haven asset gold was trading at about $1,275 an ounce, down from $1,292 reached last Friday. Wall Street got bathed in a sea of red Thursday amid mounting tensions between the United States and North Korea .

If the study is verified through further research, Antarctica's total number of identified volcanoes would be bumped up to 138, making it the biggest cluster of volcanoes in the world. "That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible".

Many scientists are anxious about what could happen to sea levels if one or more of these volcanoes wakes up. In Iceland, volcanoes were the reason why the ice flow increased because they erupted under the ice. A serious eruption could melt the bottom of the ice sheet immediately above the volcano's vent, but we really have no idea what would happen after that. And it's not like Antarctic ice needs any help melting. "However we shouldn't inhibit youthful exuberance!"

This discovery shows that the region has as many volcanoes as regions from East Asia or North America have.

'The big question is: how active are these volcanoes?


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