Feeds

Deep beneath MELTING ANTARCTIC ice: A huge active VOLCANO

When is a fiery bowl of MAGMA like a smoker in an airline lav?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Pity poor Antarctica: already shedding its land (but not its sea) ice, it's now been found to conceal a volcano of some considerable size beneath its frosty coating.

Like a nicotine addict making a desperate attempt to hide in an airline toilet, this smoker had itself hidden – but instead of a couple of centimetres of door, its presence was concealed underneath the glaciers in the vicinity of Mount Sidley.

The subsurface volcano turned up in a study of the Executive Committee Range (don't blame The Register for the naming conventions), part of Marie Byrd Land (which doesn't show itself above the surface of the ice).

A group of American researchers took seismological data from the area between 2006 and 2010, and came up with two conclusions: the sub-glacial volcanic activity that formed features like the Executive Committee Range is still taking place now – and it's moving southwards at the rate of 9.6 km, every million years.

In the study published in Nature Geoscience (abstract here), the researchers say they detected swarms of earth tremors between 25 km and 40 km deep, in February 2010 and March 2011.

The tremors were too deep to have been caused by glacial movement, and the waves they gave off – at between 2 and 4 Hertz – are too low in frequency to be associated with tectonic movement. That left shifting magma as the most likely explanation, according to New Scientist.

The seismological data was combined with radar mapping to discover the topology in the area. This also turned up a layer of volcanic ash embedded in the ice from an eruption of Mount Waesche sometime in the last 8,000 years.

The scientists note that a big eruption caused by this activity would have a “noticeable” global impact, according Amanda Lough of Washing University, St Louis. A sudden eruption would appear as a slight increase in sea level rise. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.