Nearly 100 volcanoes found lurking beneath Antarctica

Scientists from the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh have discovered 91 previously undetected volcanoes in West Antarctica, some buried as deep as two miles beneath the ice.
By Andrew McDonald | Aug 16, 2017
Scientists from the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh have discovered 91 previously undetected volcanoes in West Antarctica, some buried as deep as two miles beneath the ice.

The research is published by the Geological Society of London.

The volcanoes are located in the area known as the West Antarctic Rift System, which extends for 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula, according to a report by Gizmodo. The tallest rises to a height of 12,600 feet (3,850 meters) the size of the Eiger in Switzerland.

Adding the newly found volcanoes to the 47 already known to be in the region, this concentration of volcanoes in Antarctica could make it the most volcano-rich place on the planet, say Max Van Wyk de Vries and Robert Bingham, the scientists who conducted the study.

Using data from the British Antarctic Survey, researchers looked for volcanoes by hunting for their tell-tale cones. However, the data does not reveal if any of the newly found volcanoes are still active and many could be extinct.

"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," said de Vries, a third-year undergraduate. "After examining existing data on West Antarctica, I began discovering traces of volcanism. Naturally I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of almost 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet."

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