News

91 new volcanoes discovered below ice in Antarctica

15th August, 2017

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica – which could have an impact on climate change.

Melting ice leading to rising sea levels
The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilise some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic Ocean could trigger sea level rises.

As tall as the Eiger
Edinburgh University researchers, have found almost 100 volcanoes that were previously unknown, with the highest as tall as the Eiger mountain in Switzerland, which stands at almost 4,000 metres. Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa’s volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That’s something that’s yet to be determined.

Hidden peaks in the ice sheet
The Edinburgh volcano survey studied the underside of the west Antarctica ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes. Their tips actually lie above the ice and have been spotted by polar explorers over the past century.
The newly discovered volcanoes range in height from 100 to 3,850 metres. All are covered in ice, which sometimes lies in layers that are more than 4km thick in the region. 

Making sure there’s no ice sheet covering your premises
Whilst you can be pretty certain you know what lies beneath any snow that falls or ice that forms on your premises, because we assess each site individually, we’ll know exactly where and when to grit to prevent any disruptions. So, don’t delay, plan now for the icy, cold weather and get your winter gritting and snow clearance sorted by calling us on 01728 633900 for a quote that will be tailored to the requirements of your premises.

Volcanoes found in the Antarctic under the ice sheet

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