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Published on July 12th, 2011 | by Joshua S Hill

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New Underwater Volcanoes Discovered in Antarctica

July 12th, 2011 by

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered a slew of previously undiscovered underwater volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands, a series of islands grouped together with Britain’s claim in Antarctica.

The scientists who were working on board the RSS James Clark Ross on a research cruise used ship-borne sea-floor mapping technology to discover the volcanoes.

They found 12 volcanoes sitting beneath the surface of the ocean, some reaching up to 3 kilometres in height. They also found 5 kilometre diameter craters caused as a result of collapsing volcanoes and another 7 active volcanoes that are visible above the ocean surface as a chain of islands.

“There is so much that we don’t understand about volcanic activity beneath the sea — it’s likely that volcanoes are erupting or collapsing all the time,” said Dr Phil Leat from the British Antarctic Survey, speaking at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh.

“The technologies that scientists can now use from ships not only give us an opportunity to piece together the story of the evolution of our earth, but they also help shed new light on the development of natural events that pose hazards for people living in more populated regions on the planet.”

Research such as this is important for understanding what happens when volcanoes erupt or collapse underwater, and what such actions mean for creating tsunamis and other serious hazards.

Additionally, regions such as these with their warm waters caused by the volcanic activity are rich havens for many species of wildlife.

Source: British Antarctic Survey

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.



  • Zack

    Great findings! Thanks for the info… I did suspect this being the reason for rising sea temperatures when warm ocean currents were detected. And I believe the big floating ice “islands” like the one heading towards Australia from the Antarctica can only be dislodged from it’s parent shelf by such influences from below, but there wasn’t any way to detect seismic activity under ice plateaus is there?
    Cheers!

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