The scientists found a new large volcanic region on Earth. The main unexpectedness was that fact that this region is located in Antarctica.
Antarctica is a tectonically calm continent with the small seismic activity, except the district of West Antarctica. According to the research, made several years ago, the experts calculated the total number of volcanos here. There are 47 volcanoes on the territory. Some of them, especially the island, erupted many times in the last 200 years.
In 2017, the scientists of the University of Edinburgh explored the structure of West Antarctic Rift. They found 91 volcanoes under the ice. Its cluster reminds a volcanic array that earlier was considered as the largest in the world. There are 138 volcanoes located on the bounded territory of the western part of the continent. However, nowadays, the Antarctic can be considered as the largest volcanic array in the world. Recently discovered volcanoes are from 100-meter to 3850-meter high. Until now, they were hidden under the 4-kilometre thick sheets of the ice. Global warming accelerated the ice melting, allowed to notice these volcanoes. The scientists waged the research with help of the radar probing.
“We were amazed,” said glacier expert Robert Bingham. “We had not expected to find anything like that number. We have almost trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in West Antarctica. We also suspect there are even more on the bed of the sea that lies under the Ross ice shelf, so that I think it is very likely this region will turn out to be the densest region of volcanoes in the world, greater even than east Africa, where mounts Nyiragongo, Kilimanjaro, Longonot and all the other active volcanoes are concentrated.”
Now, the experts have to define the potential activity of these new volcanoes. According to the preliminary data, the volcanoes will not awake in the nearest future. On the contrary, the disappearing of the icy cover facilitates the condition of the volcanoes, making them free from the superfluous internal pressure. However, if the volcanoes erupt, the consequences will be devastating for the planet.
Presently, the level of the World Ocean increases because of the melting of Antarctic ice. So, if the volcanoes erupt the fiery lava, the process of increasing will be accelerated by many times.
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