A supervolcano more powerful than Yellowstone was found in Antarctica

A supervolcano more powerful than Yellowstone was found in Antarctica

Dec. 30, 2018 – Translated; Volcanism is another factor that can lead to the depletion of ice in Antarctica. Antarctic research, made with the use of radar technology, revealed that under its ice cover there are 91 previously unknown volcanoes, including one with a caldera comparable to the Yellowstone super-volcano!

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found as many as 91 previously unknown volcanoes under the Antarctic ice. This discovery is the largest volcanic area in the world with the densest distribution of volcanoes. The elements are under the layer of two kilometers of ice. As the specialists emphasize, one of them exceeds the size of the Yellowstone caldera.

Volcanoes have been identified thanks to special georadars able to work in extreme conditions and thanks to data from radars mounted on airplanes. After collecting the appropriate amount of data, it was possible to “look” under the ice. Numerous volcanic craters can be identified on device readings.

The volcanic band discovered near Antarctica with the giant size of Yellowstone was a great surprise for the scientific community. Thanks to this, the number of known volcanoes on this continent has increased almost threefold. What’s more, experts predict that there are more volcanoes there, and the strand continues the seabed, making it probably the area of the highest volcanic density in the world.

About 100 million years ago, there was no ice on the southernmost continent, and the whole was covered by lush rainforests and swamps. Newly discovered volcanoes are extremely diverse. Some sizes resemble small hills, while others may have a height of up to 3850 meters. Most of them have a conical shape, which suggests that they did not experience glacial erosion, and all can be very young.

The basic question posed by scientists after this discovery is how active these volcanoes are currently. Unfortunately, this cannot be determined at the moment, but Scottish experts do not hide that it must be determined as soon as possible. If it turned out that they are active, it will mean trouble for the whole planet. Although this volcano range was discovered at the end of 2017, we still do not know.

The possible phase of activity of this previously unknown volcanic band can even mean the destabilization of a part of the Antarctic ice sheet. Researchers warn about the possible instability of glaciers. Heating from the bottom of the ice cover will reduce the friction forces, which may even lead to some ice sheets slipping into the sea. This can drastically increase the water level in the oceans, which will threaten the flooding of coastal areas, including many cities.

Mary Greeley News
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