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Underwater Antarctic volcanoes discovered in the Southern Ocean

Date:
July 11, 2011
Source:
British Antarctic Survey
Summary:
Scientists have discovered previously unknown volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands. Using ship-borne sea-floor mapping technology during research cruises onboard the RRS James Clark Ross, the scientists found 12 volcanoes beneath the sea surface -- some up to 3 km high. They found 5 km diameter craters left by collapsing volcanoes and seven active volcanoes visible above the sea as a chain of islands.

Sea-floor mapping technology reveals volcanoes beneath the sea surface.
Credit: Image courtesy of British Antarctic Survey

Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered previously unknown volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands.

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Using ship-borne sea-floor mapping technology during research cruises onboard the RRS James Clark Ross, the scientists found 12 volcanoes beneath the sea surface -- some up to 3km high. They found 5km diameter craters left by collapsing volcanoes and 7 active volcanoes visible above the sea as a chain of islands.

The research is important also for understanding what happens when volcanoes erupt or collapse underwater and their potential for creating serious hazards such as tsunamis. Also this sub-sea landscape, with its waters warmed by volcanic activity creates a rich habitat for many species of wildlife and adds valuable new insight about life on earth.

Speaking at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh Dr Phil Leat from British Antarctic Survey said, "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. 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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Antarctic Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Antarctic Survey. "Underwater Antarctic volcanoes discovered in the Southern Ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711104755.htm>.
British Antarctic Survey. (2011, July 11). Underwater Antarctic volcanoes discovered in the Southern Ocean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711104755.htm
British Antarctic Survey. "Underwater Antarctic volcanoes discovered in the Southern Ocean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711104755.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

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