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Scientists Discover 91 Volcanoes Below Antarctic Ice Sheet (theguardian.com) 181

Reader schwit1 writes: Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth -- two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica. The project, by Edinburgh University researchers, has revealed almost 100 volcanoes -- with the highest as tall as the Eiger, which stands at almost 4,000 metres in Switzerland. This is in addition to 47 already known about and eruption would melt more ice in region affected by climate change, the report added. Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa's volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world. And the activity of this range could have worrying consequences, they have warned. "If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica's ice sheets," said glacier expert Robert Bingham, one of the paper's authors. "Anything that causes the melting of ice -- which an eruption certainly would -- is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.
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Scientists Discover 91 Volcanoes Below Antarctic Ice Sheet

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  • Worry worry worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @09:04AM (#55007527) Homepage Journal
    One thing I have noticed about these guys who study ice sheets is that they worry a lot. They didn't even know there were 91 volcanoes there that have been there for who knows for how long. Yet they are "worried" about it, suddenly. Needs more money for studies I guess.
    • It's really just another angle for the same worry about climate change because the melting ice may make eruption more likely. From the article:
      However, he pointed to one alarming trend: “The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska. Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressu
      • Re:Worry worry worry (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday August 14, 2017 @09:52AM (#55007775)
        This is typical of climate change types. They single out Alaska and Iceland to justify their theory and then neglect to mention that Iceland is a brand new (geologically speaking) island formed through vulcanism, so actually the volcanoes pre-date galciers on iceland - and Alaska sits on the pacific ring of fire so there's no surprise about volcanic activity there in an active tectonic region. There is little to no evidence that melting glaciers affect volcanic activity. If a bunch of superheated steam and molten rock can squirt it's way up all the way from the mantle it's not the last km of ice (which is much easier to melt than rock) that will stop it.
        • It's anthropogenic vulcanism! Humans drive volcanic activity, and too many tourists stepping on Yellowstone is going to cause "The Big One".

          This goes along with anthropogenic earthquakes, anthropogenic sunspots, and anthropogenic cosmic rays, which can all be correlated to human activity of some sort.

          We are not simply insignificant bags of mostly water on a tiny rock at the edge of an insignificant galaxy in the middle of an uncaring and massive universe, we are the ultimate drivers of the cosmos!! /sarc

          • It's anthropogenic vulcanism! Humans drive volcanic activity, and too many tourists stepping on Yellowstone is going to cause "The Big One".

            This goes along with anthropogenic earthquakes, anthropogenic sunspots, and anthropogenic cosmic rays, which can all be correlated to human activity of some sort.

            We are not simply insignificant bags of mostly water on a tiny rock at the edge of an insignificant galaxy in the middle of an uncaring and massive universe, we are the ultimate drivers of the cosmos!! /sarc

            Precisely!

        • This is typical of climate change types.

          Exactly!

          Just like I am SURE that all those cans of hairspray and vented refrigerator coils caused the volcanos, too...

          Oh, and don't forget the cow-farts!

        • If a bunch of superheated steam and molten rock can squirt it's way up all the way from the mantle it's not the last km of ice (which is much easier to melt than rock) that will stop it.
          But the last few km of ice might have enough weight to change the way how the magma is coming up.

          I really wonder why /. readers always think scientists are idiots and miss the obvious. Facepalm.

          • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
            You mean /. readers who are scientists question other scientists rather than blindly believing them? Oh no - the HORROR! I think you need to revise your understanding of how science actually works.
            • I did not see any scientist questioning any other scientist.

              I only saw an idiot making an idiotic post.

              Perhaps you should revise the way how intelligent posting works.

        • a) There's far more concern over Greenland's melting than Iceland or Alaska
          b) If the volcanoes pre-date the glaciers - then why is the ice melting now? That implies increasing heat. If much of that new heat is actually from increasing vulcanism rather than climate (I've seen no evidence about proportion) then that is itself a concern - is an eruption imminent?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        There is no reason to worry about glacier covering being lost due to the end of the last Ice Age. You might as well worry about asteroids.
        • There is no reason to worry about glacier covering being lost due to the end of the last Ice Age. You might as well worry about asteroids.

          I DO, you insensitive clod!

        • by Terwin ( 412356 )

          There is no reason to worry about glacier covering being lost due to the end of the last Ice Age. You might as well worry about asteroids.

          That is sort of like saying 'My gas tank is empty because I am out of gas.'

          By definition, our _current_ ice age will end when we no-longer have locations with year-round Ice in both the northern and southern hemisphere(ie glaciers and ice-caps)

      • Chicken, or the Egg? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sycodon ( 149926 )

        Which came first?

        It is very well possible that geothermal activitie at the base of these ice sheets is responsible to the degradation of the ice sheet, no?

        You don't need a volcano to erupt to melt ice.

        • It is very well possible that geothermal activitie at the base of these ice sheets is responsible to the degradation of the ice sheet, no?

          Geothermal activity under these ice sheets has been continuing for hundreds of times the duration of any human-written books (including books written by people who think their mushrooms are god). Any unusual changes noticeable in a century of observation are something that can be laid at the feet of human-induced biosphere changes.

          (BTW, I make my living from the oil indu

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kwbauer ( 1677400 )

        Volcanoes are driven by the molten mass that is the core of the Earth which is around 6,000 C. Can you please explain how trace amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are going to affect the core of the Earth. Volcanoes happen when fissures in the Earth's crust open from seismic activity and such and open a channel to the surface. If a large enough channel opens, the ice won't stand a chance.

        Global warming has zero affect on volcanoes but you idiots will try anything when imitating Chicken

        • The only way that I see reason as to why anthropogenic climate change causes an increase in volcanic activity is the following point of yours.

          Volcanoes happen when fissures in the Earth's crust open from seismic activity and such and open a channel to the surface.

          We do know that glacial ice can compress the earth's crust. It is not inconceivable that melting ice reduces this compression to the point that channels that had once been sealed due to compression are now open.

      • After reading this, I feel this would be fuel for climate deniers. By showing these naturally occurring volcano are what is melting the ice. And not the Ice keeping them cool enough to not go off.

        The Science reporting and bringing up climate change, before we have done a lot of research is politically dangerous.

      • It's really just another angle for the same worry about climate change because the melting ice may make eruption more likely.

        Not untrue, but that's not a claim that the actual paper makes (it's journaist-ese).

        This is a study of GPR and thru-ice radar results. Noone is claiming they're likely to erupt soon.

    • Needs more money for studies I guess.

      I really wonder why people write bullshit like this.

      You don't get magically more money just because you discover something or are worried ...

    • Odd, I RTFA, and noticed not an iota of worry - perhaps you didn't.

      Incidentally. Edinburgh is one of the best established universities in the UK (several centuries longer than that irritating rebellion in the penal colonies), and anyone who works there would need some years of poor work before being concerned over their jobs. It's not America, did you notice?

  • Domino effect (Score:5, Informative)

    by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @09:06AM (#55007547) Journal

    From the article:

    "The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska. Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active."

    Not entirely unimportant, I think.

    • Re:Domino effect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @09:28AM (#55007635) Homepage Journal
      Or it could be that the volcanoes are more active recently and thus recently lost their glacier covering. Nah! Couldn't be. Must be the opposite. We know everything about why the ice sheets are melting. Yet we didn't know that there were 91 volcanoes underneath them apparently.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        And why would volcanoes around the globe be more active?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Not sure. Climate change? Must be. That is the only explanation.
          • by hey! ( 33014 )

            People assume scientists are stupid. And while scientists can act as stupidly as anyone else, generally they're not as dense as laymen seem to think they are.

      • Or it could be that the volcanoes are more active recently and thus recently lost their glacier covering.

        That's one possibility. The article states that the scientists haven't yet established how much, if any, activity there is in those volcanoes. Knowing the activity level is pretty important, and we can't draw any conclusions without that missing information.

        I would not be the least bit surprised, though, to discover that the volcanoes are currently completely inactive.

        • by es330td ( 964170 )

          I would not be the least bit surprised, though, to discover that the volcanoes are currently completely inactive.

          Keyword there is "currently." Dormant, and even extinct, volcanoes have a history of moving suddenly to the "active" category.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, 2017 @09:12AM (#55007565)

    Man caused the volcanoes to form under the ice by allowing cows to pass gas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Notice that all the posts (like mine) that are skeptical of global warming have been censored to -1. Science advances when people find problems with current theories and new theories have to be developed to explain the evidence. However, in the case of global warming, all the evidence against it is censored and the researchers have their character attacked. It's a shame that quality research is censored and science is being prevented from advancing in this area.

      • by bazorg ( 911295 )

        Try to post again then, with that evidence and good arguments you promised. If being AC suits you, go for it, otherwise a new account with a pseudonym starts off at a slightly higher score by default.

      • Back when the evidence on the dangers of smoking became indisputable and the medical community overwhelmingly raised the alarm the Tobacco Industry still found a few "experts" to parade in-front of Congress and the media to claim otherwise.The fact that the deep pockets of the Trillion a year Fossil Fuel industry can't get more then %2 of climate scientists to cast doubt on the conclusions of man made global worming goes to show you just how overwhelming the body of evidence is
      • However, in the case of global warming, all the evidence against it is censored

        There is no evidence against it.

        And because of that mods are tired to see idiots (like you) claiming there would be.
        And hence we mod idiotic anti global warming and more so idiotic anti human caused global warming posts down.

        What else would you do when a forum is flooded with complete nonsense?

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday August 14, 2017 @09:54AM (#55007803)
      Naturally - this angers the volcano gods. They can only be appeased through sacrifice.
      • by Whibla ( 210729 )

        Informative? ROFL!
         
        /*Thinks for a moment*/

        Naturally - this angers the volcano gods. They can only be appeased through sacrifice.

        Or maybe you know something I don't.

        Could you perhaps expand on this a little, blessed prophet of the new age?

  • "This is in addition to 47 already known about and eruption would melt more ice in region affected by climate change,..."

    Not even sure what that means in english, but yes, of course, there must be some way to connect volcanic eruptions (handwaving) & climate change, right?

  • Sea temperature models are so predictive they didn't even need to know about 100 volcanoes. Also, please don't consider what other major variables we may not fully understand

    • Of course these volcanoes are under the ice sheet, not under the ocean. And regardless there aren't enough volcanoes in the ocean to significantly affect sea temperatures (except very locally around the volcano). The total geothermal heat flux is 1/10,000 of the energy coming in from the Sun so the effect is minuscule.

  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Monday August 14, 2017 @12:46PM (#55009769)

    But not the man made variety. This is evidence of NATURAL climate change. In order for nearly 100 volcanoes to be underneath 2km of ice, what happened? Climate change. Once upon a time, that area was presumably very hot and with frequent volcanic activity. Some type of climate change occurred, a very radical one and all the volcanoes froze underneath all that ice.

    There is no "natural" homeostasis for climate. Any suggestion of the like is really just human beings wanting to keep the climate ideal to their species' preferences indefinitely. Believe it or not, that is actually unnatural. It goes directly against the principles of entropy at work in the universe.

    • >. Some type of climate change occurred

      Yeah, plate tectonics pushed the continent over the south pole. It used to be much closer to the equator.

      "Some 200 million years ago, Antarctic continental crust was joined with South American, African, Indian, and Australian continental crust making up a large southern land mass known as Gondwana (the southern part of the supercontinent called Pangea). After this time, Gondwana slowly split apart to create Antarctica as a separate continent, and Antarctica has gra

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        >. Some type of climate change occurred

        Yeah, plate tectonics pushed the continent over the south pole. It used to be much closer to the equator.

        "Some 200 million years ago, Antarctic continental crust was joined with South American, African, Indian, and Australian continental crust making up a large southern land mass known as Gondwana (the southern part of the supercontinent called Pangea). After this time, Gondwana slowly split apart to create Antarctica as a separate continent, and Antarctica has gradually moved away from the other southern continents towards its present polar position."

        http://discoveringantarctica.o... [discoverin...ica.org.uk]

        Yes I'm aware of that and that further supports my claim. You just describing the more specific contributing factors to the natural climate change. Thank you for that.

  • The map of Antartica has an "East" and "West" half. There is no such thing. Everything not in the center is in the South. The part that is close to South America is just as much West as it is East. The part that is closer to Australia is also just as much West as it is East.

    A helpful map of Antartica would have arrows pointing towards South America, Africa, and Australia.

    But the words East and West has no business being on a map of the Antartica, or of the North Pole. Also, while you could put the w

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      You could say the same about any place in the world. The "western" world is just as much east of the "eastern" world as it is west. If you live in America and you want to get to China you fly *west*.

      So that we can talk about direction we specify everything relative to the (mostly) arbitrary reference of the prime meridian. That makes China east and the US west. It also makes the Antarctic have an eastern part (which is in the eastern hemisphere) and a western part (in the western hemisphere).

    • The map of Antartica has an "East" and "West" half. There is no such thing. Everything not in the center is in the South. The part that is close to South America is just as much West as it is East. The part that is closer to Australia is also just as much West as it is East.

      However, people that actually study antarctica apparently have a different opinion:

      "Although the Antarctic Ice Sheet is a continuous mass of ice, but it is sometimes helpful to think of it as two separate masses known as the West Antarctic and East Antarctic ice sheets, which are separated by the Transantarctics. Ice on the west side of this line flows west, while the opposite happens east of the divide." [nasa.gov]

    • You are a nitpicking idiot.

      And you fail at nitpicking: Everything not in the center is in the South. You meant North here.
      And if you would look on a map of Antarctica, you would easy understand which part is east and wich part is west. Facepalm.

      There is even a part of Antarctica that is explicitly named west antarctica: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      I hope you never get lost there or have at least correct longitude/latitude information in case you insist that you are "just north" of the south pole ... m

      • Names are different than directions. I checked the map and the wiki page and the part the article's map called "West" is not near "West Antartica". So they are doubly wrong, and you as well for defending their stupidity.

        And you are exactly why the internet has a bad name. You admit I am generally correct, providing me with even more so, but dislike my topic, so you hope I die and call me a moron.

        Thank you for personally filling the world with more useless hate. Good luck with your hate filled life.

        • Dude, look at the map.
          Draw a vertical line in the middle (actually from longitude 0 towards longitude 180)
          Left side is west, right side is east.

          Argue as long as you want. That is how people navigating there are using the map.

          West Anarctica is the north west peninsula ... you must have problems with your eyes.

          No idea hat you mean with hate, the only thing I hate is stupidity :D especially regarding stuff that could save your life if you get over your stupidity.

          Again: if you crash there in a helicopter around

    • The South Pole is neither east nor west. The log sheet of USS Nautilus going over the North Pole had a little dash in the longitude field. Once you move north from the South Pole (easy to do if you're not already frozen), you have a longitude that will be either east or west (or 0 or 180, I guess). Antarctica is not the South Pole except for a set of measure zero, so there is an East and a West Antarctica.

  • The article refers to a paper TO BE PUBLISHED in a compendium book. The book isn't (and won't be) Open Access, but the paper is here [lyellcollection.org].

    Read. Enjoy!

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