Antarctica's volcanoes: a song of ice and fire

Posted by ap507 at Sep 07, 2017 09:40 AM |
Professor John Smellie from our School of Geography, Geology and the Environment discusses how massive eruptions can have the potential to fundamentally alter the climate
Antarctica's volcanoes: a song of ice and fire

Source: The Conversation; A velocity map of Antarctic ice streams as they move toward the ocean. NASA/JPL, CC BY-SA

Antarctica is a vast icy wasteland covered by the world’s largest ice sheet. This ice sheet contains about 90% of fresh water on the planet. It acts as a massive heat sink and its meltwater drives the world’s oceanic circulation.

Less well known is that Antarctica is also host to several active volcanoes, part of a huge 'volcanic province' which extends for thousands of kilometres along the western edge of the continent. Although the volcanic province has been known and studied for decades, about 100 'new' volcanoes were recently discovered beneath the ice by scientists who used satellite data and ice-penetrating radar to search for hidden peaks.

Professor John Smellie from our School of Geography, Geology and the Environment has recently written an article for The Conversation discussing the new research and what could happen if Antarctica’s dormant, ice-covered volcanoes wake up. This topical article was republished by the i Newspaper in print on Thursday 7 September as part of its weekly series highlighting the best science, environment and health coverage from The Conversation. The article was also featured by the Independent.

On the topic, Professor Smellie was also featured in the International Business Times discussing how massive eruptions can have the potential to alter the climate.

Spanish-speaking online newspaper, AltaVoz, republished John's article for The Conversation here.

Source: The Conversation; Mt Erebus is one of Antarctica’s most active volcanoes. The rocks in the foreground are the remnants of several younger subglacial volcanoes. antarcticglaciers.org

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