A page dedicated to presenting the increase in volcanism under the Antarctic ice sheet.
Antarctica is the least known continent on the planet due to its extreme cold and year round dangerous weather events. Every expedition brings new science data findings that change understanding of the current body of knowledge of Antarctica. It is very easy to die in Antarctica, and very limited time periods exist through the southern summer to achieve these expeditions.
West Antarctica has at least 138 volcanoes comprising one of the world’s largest active continental volcanic fields. At least 91 of these have only been discovered recently.
Each year more activity is being identified with more active volcanoes being identified. Mount Erebus, is the most known and the world’s most southerly active volcano. It has a persistent lava lake and has been filmed by many over recent decades as you can access the rim of the Volcano. Most volcanoes are directly associated with the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS). In fact, the 91 recently discovered lie hidden beneath kilometers of ice.
Every expedition brings back more data showing that they have found more volcanoes or subglacial volcanic activity. This will likely increase as our ability to investigate more locations in the remote continent occurs.
Not knowing the entire size, and energetic releases mean we are presenting facts without all the data. This is a folly of extraordinary levels.
Climate change and Antarctica– Many large climate organisations that document climate change or do climate modeling are continually ignoring the new volcanic activity being identified in Antarctica. This fact is very inconvenient to their narrative that the data is in and the science is final on Climate Change. However science as we know is never final as science is about questioning and re-assessing existing science and proposing new ideas as technology evolves.
Increased Activity – Volcanic activity generally increases during solar minimum periods within those magmatic fields that are filled with siliceous rich magma, as that magma is susceptible to increase galactic cosmic rays (GCR’s). Some papers listed below show the known linkages. There are hundreds like this with small variations, but most all state that GCR’s do have an impact on the volcanic activity. As described on the Earths Magnetic Field page, a weakening magnetic field allows more radiation to stream in the polar regions, which in turn allows for increased activity, melt, freshening sea water and reduction of ice pack height.
Impacts of increased Antarctic Volcanic – Many articles and papers have been written lately with concerns about volcanic activity in Antarctica forget to describe one key issue. We do not have a comprehensive understanding of the previous activity in these Antarctic volcanic fields. The few volcanoes that are active at the surface are known and have been monitored and recorded since mid last century.
However the sheer fact that we are still finding new activity indicates that we are not ever going to have any real understanding of the true impacts.
Increases in fresh water releases – One of the items that is monitored around Antarctica is salinity and the seasonal changes that have occurred.
When you look at the NASA satellite data released March 2021 you notice the overlap of volcanic zones with the increasing melt and freshening water and glacial ice which can be in part attributed to volcanic activity.
Geothermal update on Western Antarctica
High geothermal heat flow beneath Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica inferred from aeromagnetic data:
A paper released via Nature.com has been published on the 18th August 2021 which may elude to much of the volcanic region in the west of Antarctica activity increasing having an impact on glacial speed which in the recent decades has been attributed to anthropogenic global warming.
Geothermal heat flow in the polar regions plays a crucial role in understanding ice-sheet dynamics and predictions of sea level rise. Continental-scale indirect estimates often have a low spatial resolution and yield largest discrepancies in West Antarctica. Here we analyse geophysical data to estimate geothermal heat flow in the Amundsen Sea Sector of West Antarctica. With Curie depth analysis based on a new magnetic anomaly grid compilation, we reveal variations in lithospheric thermal gradients. We show that the rapidly retreating Thwaites and Pope glaciers in particular are underlain by areas of largely elevated geothermal heat flow, which relates to the tectonic and magmatic history of the West Antarctic Rift System in this region. Our results imply that the behavior of this vulnerable sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is strongly coupled to the dynamics of the underlying lithosphere.