Monday December 17, 2018
Home World Largest Volca...

Largest Volcanic Region on Earth Discovered in Antarctica

"The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible,"

0
//
The largest volcanic region is below the ice sheets in west Antarctica
Largest volcanic region discovered in Antarctica. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint
  • The largest volcanic region on Earth has been discovered in west Antarctica 
  • The newly discovered volcanoes range in height from 100 to 3,850 m
  • These active peaks are concentrated in a region known as the west Antarctic rift system

London, August 15, 2017: The largest volcanic region on Earth — with nearly 100 volcanoes — has been discovered two km below the surface of the vast ice sheet in west Antarctica.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Britain found a staggering 91 previously unknown volcanoes, adding to the 47 others that had been discovered over the previous century of exploring the region.

These newly discovered volcanoes range in height from 100 to 3,850 m, with the highest almost as tall as Switzerland’s 3,970-m Eiger mountain.

These active peaks are concentrated in a region known as the west Antarctic rift system — which stretches 3,500 km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.

According to geologists, this huge region is likely to dwarf east Africa’s volcanic ridge — currently rated as the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

ALSO READVenus could have active volcanoes, says research

However, the activity of this range could have worrying consequences, glacier expert Robert Bingham was quoted as saying to the Guardian.

“If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets,” Bingham warned.

“Anything that causes the melting of ice, which an eruption certainly would, is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea,” he said.

“The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible,” he added.

The Edinburgh volcano survey, reported in the Geological Society’s special publications series, involved studying the underside of the west Antarctica ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes.

Presently, volcanism is seen in regions, including Iceland and Alaska, that have recently lost their glacier covering. The same could happen in west Antarctica, where significant warming in the region caused by climate change has begun to affect its ice sheets.

If they are reduced significantly, this could release pressure on the volcanoes that lie below and lead to eruptions that could further destabilise the ice sheets and enhance sea level rises that are already affecting our oceans, Bingham noted. (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Emission of CO2 Levels Higher In Antarctica Than Believed

The team used the pH measurements to calculate the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide, and then uses that to figure out how strongly the water is absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

0
Antarctica
Antarctic seas emit higher CO2 levels than previously thought: Study. Flcikr

The open water nearest to the sea ice surrounding Antarctica releases significantly more carbon dioxide in winter than previously believed, showed a study conducted using an array of robotic floats.

The robotic floats diving and drifting in the Southern Ocean around the southernmost continent made it possible to gather data during the peak of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter from a place that remains poorly studied, despite its role in regulating the global climate.

“These results came as a really big surprise, because previous studies found that the Southern Ocean was absorbing a lot of carbon dioxide,” said lead author Alison Gray, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.

CO2, Antarctica
Carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle. Flickr

In the Southern Ocean region, carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle.

It is also among the world’s most turbulent bodies of water, which makes obtaining data extremely difficult.

According to the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the floating instruments collected the new observations. The instruments dive down to 1 km and float with the currents for nine days.

Antarctic-sea
The open water nearest to the ice surrounding Antarctica releases more carbon dioxide. IANS

Next, they drop even farther, to 2 km, and then rise back to the surface while measuring water properties.

After surfacing they beam their observations back to shore via satellite.

Unlike more common Argo floats, which only measure ocean temperature and salinity, the robotic floats also monitor dissolved oxygen, nitrogen and pH — the relative acidity of water.

Also Read: In the Video: Possibilities of Ocean Floor Mapping

The study analysed data collected by 35 floats between 2014 and 2017.

The team used the pH measurements to calculate the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide, and then uses that to figure out how strongly the water is absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. (IANS)