A Land of Ice and Fire - 100 Volcanoes Detected Beneath Antarctica

In a recent discovery by a team of researchers from the University of Edinburg, Scotland, nearly 100 volcanoes underneath the Antarctic ice sheet have been detected. What is more interesting is that such a large concentration of volcanoes in a region of the continent known as West Antarctic System Rift has made it to compete against that of the East African Rift Valley which is known as one of the most volcanically dense regions of the world.

Post such a discovery, the scientific community of the world are on the run to determine how many of these volcanic systems are actually active because such a large concentration of volcanoes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet may have alarming consequences especially in the wake of global climate change that has caused significant melting of the polar ice caps. 

Even if one of these volcanoes were to erupt, it would destabilize the entire West Antarctic’s ice sheet. This may drastically increase the flow of melted ice into the ocean thereby increasing the water levels to alarming levels. Also for the volcanoes which are buried many kilometers beneath the ice sheets, the overburden pressure from the top may decrease due to melting of the ice caps caused due to global warming. Such a loss of pressure may lead to activation of these volcanic systems.

Post Written By - Manash Hazarika

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