Latest Antarctica Volcano Count — 138! Another Threat to Sea Level Rise

“We were amazed. We had not expected to find anything like 91 more volcanoes a mile down in the ice! ...West Antarctic rift is the densest region of volcanoes in the world.”

- Robert Bingham, Ph.D., Glaciology, Univ. of Edinburgh, Scotland

What is troubling scientists is the ability for these many Antarctic volcanoes, if they erupted, to cause wide scale melting and breakup of Antarctica's ice sheets. Image by NASA.
What is troubling scientists is the ability for these many Antarctic volcanoes, if they erupted, to cause wide scale melting and breakup of Antarctica's ice sheets. Image by NASA.

September 29, 2017 Edinburgh, Scotland -  Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have done the first study of the West Antarctic Rift with ice-penetrating radar and have found what might be the largest volcanic region on Earth, larger than the East Africa volcanic ridge that contains Mt. Kilimanjaro. They analyzed the shape of the land beneath the ice using measurements from ice-penetrating radar, and compared the findings with satellite and database records, as well as geological information from aerial surveys.

To their surprise, they now have a count of 138 volcanoes that range in height from 320 feet (100 m) to 12,600 feet (3,850 m). The peaks are concentrated in a region known as the West Antarctic Rift System, spanning 2,174 miles (3,500 km) from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula. Some of the peaks stick out of the mile thick ice, while most are below the ice sheet.

 

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