Name: Krishna Anne S. Paras Science News# 2 Grade & Section: Grade IV Our Lady of Love Date: June 30, 2014
Volcano Discovered Smoldering Under a Kilometer of Ice in West Antarctica: Heat May Increase Rate of Ice Loss
In January 2010 a team of scientists had set up two crossing lines of seismographs across Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica. It was the first time the scientists had deployed many instruments in the interior of the continent that could operate year-round even in the coldest parts of Antarctica. There were big questions to be asked and answered. The goal, says Doug Wiens, professor of earth and planetary science at Washington University in St. Louis and one of the project's principle investigators, was essentially to weigh the ice sheet to help reconstruct Antarctica's climate history. But to do this accurately the scientists had to know how Earth's mantle would respond to an ice burden, and that depended on whether it was hot and fluid or cool and viscous. The seismic data would allow them to map the mantle's properties. In the meantime, automated-event-detection software was put to work to comb the data for anything unusual. When it found two bursts of seismic events between January 2010 and March 2011, Wiens' PhD student Amanda Lough looked more closely to see what was rattling the continent's bones. Was it rock grinding on rock, ice groaning over ice, or, perhaps, hot gases and liquid rock forcing their way through cracks in a volcanic complex? Uncertain at first, the more Lough and her colleagues looked, the more convinced they became that a new volcano was forming a kilometer beneath the ice. The discovery of the new as yet unnamed volcano is announced in the Nov. 17 advanced online issue of Nature Geoscience.
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