Research

Scientists uncover 91 volcanoes under Antarctica ice

Scientists uncover 91 volcanoes under Antarctica ice

Robert Bingham, a glacier expert at the university, said: "Anything that causes the melting of ice - which an eruption certainly would - is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea". They also had references from aerial images and satellite images.

It's not now known which of these volcanoes, if any, might be active or whether they could exacerbate the effects of climate change in the area by melting the underside of the ice sheet, causing it to become unstable.

'The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? The researchers say it's imperative that we figure this out as quickly as possible.

Researchers at Edinburgh University in the United Kingdom revealed a staggering 91 volcanoes, adding to the 47 others that had been discovered previously, with the highest as tall as the Eiger, which stands at nearly 4,000 metres in Switzerland.

These newly discovered volcanoes range from 100 to 3,850 metres high.

The volcanoes are located in the area known as the West Antarctic Rift System, which extends for 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula, according to a report by Gizmodo.

"We had not expected to find anything like that number".

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Scientists found 91 previously unknown volcanoes, ranging in height from 100 to 3850 metres.

'We have nearly trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in west Antarctica.

Back in 2013, researchers from Washington University detected at least one active, ice-covered volcano in Antarctica (also only the West Antarctic Ice Sheet), so it's reasonable to assume others may be active as well.

Dr Bingham's fear is that the Antarctic ocean's meltwater outflows will cause sea levels to rise. We used aeromagnetic, aerogravity, satellite imagery and databases of confirmed volcanoes to support this interpretation. These places include Iceland and Alaska.

Previous studies and the concentration of volcanoes found in the region together suggest that activity may have occurred in previous warmer periods. "Naturally I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of nearly 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet". Volcanic activity may increase if Antarctica's ice thins, which is likely in a warming climate, scientists say.

'It is something we will have to watch closely'.


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