What if the volcanoes hidden under the ice of Antarctica woke up?
Antarctica is the south pole of the Earth and the fifth largest continent and it is also the coldest continent on our planet, but the interesting thing is that about 70% of the world’s fresh water is frozen in the South. Pole.
It is also home to the largest volcanic range on Earth, which extends for some 5,000 km, from the sub-Antarctic South Sandwich Islands to East Antarctica. Scientists have known about the sub-Antarctic volcanoes for a long time, but their exact number was still a mystery. However, in 2020, a study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh revealed that there are 138 volcanoes located in West Antarctica, 91 of which are completely unknown volcanoes. there.
Of these 138 known volcanoes, only 2 are active – Mount Erebus is currently the most active and Deception Island is the exposed tip of an active shield volcano.
Both have erupted in recent years, but they have not caused serious damage. Furthermore, analyzes of rock samples show that eruption events over the past 100,000 years are frequent. But there is no evidence of really strong volcanic eruptions in Antarctica in the recent geological past.
However, if the really powerful volcanoes in this continent erupt, what will happen?
In fact, we didn’t know Antarctica had active volcanoes buried beneath it until 2013, when scientists stumbled upon two small earthquake clusters. Now, scientists have scanned Antarctica with ice-penetrating radar, and know that there are many other volcanoes lurking beneath the ice. Exactly one hundred thirty-eight.
Do you know what happens when a volcano erupts? Often there are warning signs before eruptions actually begin, like earthquake waves.
Then lava and ash join, accompanied by hot gas will be ejected from the crater. Depending on the situation and the type of lava involved, the flow rate of lava will also vary, but on average, lava moves at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour.
But when a large eruption occurs, a volcano releases superheated gases and ash. Taken together, they create something called a pyroclastic cloud.
These are very hot, up to 700 degrees Celsius, and they can travel at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour. And when you get stuck in these clouds, you only have to face one outcome, which is death.
But the volcanoes in Antarctica erupting is a different story. They are buried under layers of ice more than 4 km thick in many places.
We won’t have to deal with volcanic gases moving to the surface – at least for the time being an eruption occurs. However, the heat released will melt the giant caves, creating a significant amount of melt water. And that’s when things started to go awry.
The newly created meltwater will make the ice above it move faster – the Antarctic ice will start to enter the ocean.
From there, the domino effect will begin. In the case of Antarctica, a really large volcanic eruption could awaken hundreds of other volcanoes and destabilize the entire region. As volcanoes continue to erupt in effect, more meltwater will be generated, causing more Antarctic ice to slide into the ocean.
Accordingly, the icebergs of Antarctica will be exposed to warmer ocean currents and reveal the true surface of Antarctica that has been hidden under the ice for all time. And if all the ice in Antarctica were to melt, it would raise global sea levels by about 60 meters.
Rising sea levels can contribute to larger storms that move more slowly and rain more, which in turn will wreak more havoc on the Earth’s surface.
Wildlife along coastal areas will lose habitat, and farmland will become saline.
Massive flooding will push millions away from the coast. If eruptions happened in the span of a day, we would see thousands of deaths and storms would wipe out everything that floats in the ocean.
As for Antarctica, when all the ice has melted, magma will cover the entire continent. Hot magma would solidify in the cold waters of Antarctica, and could create more soil for the foundation of Antarctica itself. But things don’t end there.
When volcanoes erupt on land, they spew out hot gases, including carbon monoxide, methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Along with this, there is usually some steam entering the mixture. According to some estimates, volcanoes are responsible for emitting 645 million tons of CO2 each year.
If volcanic eruptions in Antarctica become strong enough, they will blow away vast swaths of ice, allowing for the release of more harmful greenhouse gases and a hole in the ozone layer.
However, all of the above is just a fantasy scenario, because the volcanoes in Antarctica will not erupt at the same time. And if they were really awake, it would take decades for anything dangerous to happen to humans to happen.
at Blogtuan.info – Source: genk.vn – Read the original article here