There is a significant source of volcanic heat deep under the fast-melting Pine Island Ice Shelf in Western Antarctica, researchers found, after stumbling on the evidence while studying heat transfer in the icy continent’s oceans.
The Pine Island glacier is one of the biggest ice flows in Antarctica and is also among the most affected by melting. Big chunks of ice have been ‘calving’ off it on regular basis since the 2000s, with an iceberg about the same size as Washington DC breaking away last September. While warm ocean currents are the main cause for the melting, there are other factors, including heat coming from a volcanic source under the glacier, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.
This part of Antarctica sits atop a volcanic ridge. Previous studies suggested an eruption in this general area about 2,200 years ago. Apparently, there still is significant volcanic activity underneath kilometers of ice. read more…
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