Nearly 100 Unknown Volcanoes Have Been Found Hidden Under Antarctica

A study of ice and fire

The World's Largest Volcanic System Is Under The Antarctic Ice

However, he pointed to one alarming trend: "The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering - after the end of the last ice age".

If verified through other studies, the new results would bring the total number of volcanoes beneath this part of Antarctica to almost 140, and raise the unsettling possibility that subglacial heat from these volcanoes could speed up the melting of the ice.

They say the newly discovered volcanic region is quite similar to East Africa's volcanic ridge, which now holds the title for the region with the world's densest concentration of volcanoes.

The ground-penetrating radar was compared and contrasted with aerial surveys and satellite images, write the scientists from Edinburgh's School of Geosciences.

It is hoped the discovery will allow scientists to understand how volcanoes affect long-term fluctuations in the ice sheet as well as what the continent was like in past climates.

"If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarcticas ice sheets". The study, authored by authors Maximillian Van Wyk De Vries, Robert G Bingham and Andrew Hein, suggests the density of these volcanoes is approximately one volcano per 4,800 square miles, which makes WARS one of the world's largest volcanic regions.

This story originally appeared on The Independent. The results showed peaks of basalt rock poking up through the ice to form cone-shaped structures. The researchers say it's imperative that we figure this out as quickly as possible.

"Improving our understanding of subglacial volcanic activity across the province is important both for helping to constrain how volcanism and rifting may have influenced ice-sheet growth and decay over previous glacial cycles", the study says, "and in light of concerns over whether enhanced geothermal heat fluxes and subglacial melting may contribute to instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet". "Essentially, we were looking for evidence of volcanic cones sticking up into the ice", Bingham said.

Scientists have found under the ice of Antarctica volcanoes.

Scientists have discovered what they believe could be the world's biggest volcanic region in western Antarctica.

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

Dr Bingham's fear is that the Antarctic ocean's meltwater outflows will cause sea levels to rise.

If the ice sheet continues to thin, however, the progressive unloading of weight could have a catalyzing effect on volcanic activity.

Further study is needed to determine whether the volcanoes are active.

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