91 vol­ca­noes dis­cov­ered be­neath Antarc­tica ice

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY

Sci­en­tists have iden­ti­fied 91 vol­ca­noes hid­den be­neath the mas­sive ice sheet cov­er­ing west Antarc­tica, re­veal­ing one of the world’s largest vol­canic re­gions.

The vol­ca­noes could com­prise the dens­est re­gion of vol­ca­noes in the world, ri­val­ing even the east Africa area where Mount Kil­i­man­jaro is found, re­searchers at Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity told the Guardian.

The dozens of newly de­ter­mined for­ma­tions nearly dou­ble the 47 vol­ca­noes pre­vi­ously lo­cated in west Antarc­tica, with the newly iden­ti­fied vol­ca­noes tow­er­ing up to 2.4 miles high. One big ques­tion re­main­ing from the dis­cov­ery, which sci­en­tists de­tailed in their study: Are the vol­ca­noes still ac­tive?

“If one of these vol­ca­noes were to erupt, it could fur­ther desta­bi­lize west Antarc­tica’s ice sheets,” co-au­thor Robert Bing­ham, a glacial ex­pert, told the Guardian, re­sult­ing in melted ice that could raise sea lev­els.

Ad­di­tional study is needed to de­ter­mine whether the vol­ca­noes are ac­tive. The study’s au­thors the­o­rize that the loss of an icy cov­er­ing over the vol­ca­noes, spurred per­haps by fu­ture ac­tiv­ity, could lead the vol­ca­noes to be­com­ing more ac­tive.

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