In Antarctica discovered a serious threat to humanity

Herbert Rhodes
August 15, 2017

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences has revealed that West Antarctic Rift System (WARS) is home to one of the largest volcanic ranges on Earth, with over 100 volcanoes.

The 91 new volcanoes - among a total of 138 total linking the 3,500-kilometer chain - appears similar to the volcanic ridge of East Africa, the authors write.

Van Wyk de Vries said in a statement, "Antarctica remains among the least studied areas of the globe, and as a young scientist I was excited to learn about something new and not well understood". "If one of these volcanoes were to erupt", he explained to The Guardian, "it could further destabilize west Antarctica's ice sheets".

While researchers cannot now determine if the volcanoes are active, the new findings can help scientists take a closer look at how the volcanism in the area is influencing ice sheet growth.

Researchers relied on surveys using radar technology to peer through Antarctica's ice sheet, analyzing the measurements alongside other data to identity volcano-like formations.

Unfortunately, the new results don't indicate which of these volcanoes might be active, or have the potential to erupt, but this new study should inspire further research and seismic monitoring in the area.

The team of scientists, led by glacier expert Robert Bingham, fears any eruptions could adversely affect Antarctica's vast ice sheets, causing them to melt and fall into the sea. The results showed peaks of basalt rock poking up through the ice to form cone-shaped structures.

The newly-discovered volcanoes range in height from 100 to 3,850 m with the highest volcano as tall as Switzerland's Eiger mountain which is 3,970 meter high.

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You could say Antarctica sings a song of fire and ice.

Aside from that concern, the researchers speculate that the activity of volcanoes could in fact be linked to their level of ice cover - or rather, the lack of it. It could be that numerous volcanoes are now extinct, he says.

The under-ice volcanoes may comprise the densest region of volcanoes in the world, rivaling even the East African region where Mount Kilimanjaro is found, researchers at Edinburgh University told the Guardian.

'We have nearly trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in west Antarctica.

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

If the ice thins as the climate warms it is thought volcanic activity in the area could increase. "We just don't know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past", Bingham said.

'It is something we will have to watch closely'.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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