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Antarctic Volcanic Region: Land of Fire Under Ice?

Image: Antarctic Volcanic Region: Land of Fire Under Ice?

Iceberg in Antarctica (Dianne Christie/Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 14 August 2017 01:12 PM

Antarctica may cover the largest volcanic region on Earth, under the ice of the West Antarctic Rift System where as many as 91 volcanoes could exist, according to a new study from United Kingdom's University of Edinburgh, Sky News reported.

Geologists said the new volcanoes would be in addition to 47 above the ice and already known to scientists.

Researchers said they don’t know if the volcanoes are active, but past studies have hinted that there was volcanic activity during warmer periods in the region.

"Antarctica remains among the least studied areas of the globe, and as a young scientist I was excited to learn about something new and not well understood," said Max Van Wyk de Vries, a GeoSciences student at the University of Edinburgh who is credited with the idea of searching for volcanoes there.

"After examining existing data on West Antarctica, I began discovering traces of volcanism. Naturally I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of almost 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet," he said.

The university said the new study, which was published in the Geological Society of Special Publications series, suggests that volcanic activity in Antarctica could increase as the ice there continued to thin as the climate warms and temperatures rise.

The university said researchers could only remotely examine the underside of the ice sheet to look for hidden basalt rock peaks that are similar to other Antarctica volcanoes that has push through the ice.

The researchers analyzed the land's shape under the ice using ice-penetrating radar and compared the findings with satellite and database records, along with geological information from aerial surveys.

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Antarctica may cover the largest volcanic region on Earth, under the ice of the West Antarctic Rift System where as many as 91 volcanoes could exist, according to a new study from United Kingdom's University of Edinburgh.
antarctic, volcanic, region, fire, ice
272
2017-12-14
Monday, 14 August 2017 01:12 PM
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