Super Volcano Is Melting Antarctic Ice Sheet



Mantle plume’ nearly as hot as Yellowstone supervolcano is melting Antarctic ice sheet


A satellite observation specialist posted a photo to Twitter of the Pine Island Glacier, starting to make a break for it. Buzz60


Antarctica is getting a little hot under the collar.

Just under the frozen wasteland of the world’s coldest continent are some seriously hot rocks, which are helping to melt its ice sheet and create lakes and rivers, a study found.

How hot? Try 1,800 degrees. The heat produced by the scorching hot rocks — officially known as a mantle plume — was measured at 150 milliwatts per square meter. That’s not far from the heat produced under Yellowstone National Park, which is measured at about 200 milliwatts per square meter.

The study is among the first to say that a mantle plume exists under Marie Byrd Land, a portion of West Antarctica. Study lead author Helene Seroussi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory thought it was “crazy” that it would be there: “I didn’t see how we could have that amount of heat and still have ice on top of it,” she said.

The goal of the study was to figure out how the ice sheet was able to stay frozen with such a warm mantle plume underneath and to determine the amount of heat provided by the plume to the base of the ice sheet.

Although the heat source isn’t a new or increasing threat to the West Antarctic ice sheet, it could help explain why the ice sheet collapsed rapidly some 11,000 years ago and why it’s so unstable today, Seroussi said.

Additionally, understanding the sources and future of the meltwater under West Antarctica is important for estimating the rate at which ice may be lost to the ocean in the future, she added.

This study is not linked to the recent iceberg calving event in Larsen C or the change in Antarctic sea ice, Seroussi said.

The mantle plume has been present in this region for over 50 million years, so it existed before the onset of the Antarctic ice sheet. “However, the presence of the plume is important, as it suggests the ice is more vulnerable in this area: this additional heat warms the ice, which suggests greater weakness in the face of future and past changes in the environment,” she added.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

A weekly dose of the best personal tech to
help you live your best gadget-assisted life.
Sign Me Up

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about politics, sports, science, economics and culture.

Beauty Box Subscription Reviews and Giveaways

Beauty Product Review and Giveaways

Angie's Daily Ordinary MomBlog

every day mom life, hacks, savings, vents, stories


Recipes, Clicks and Inspiration !


Photo editing services


Just another site


art. popular since 10,000 BC

Darlene Foster's Blog

dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

%d bloggers like this: