The latest major discovery on the icy continent just goes to prove once again how little we really know about Antarctica, and the fact is over the coming years, many more major discoveries are likely waiting to be announced.
Located in an area known as the West Antarctic Rift System, the various volcanoes discovered range in height from 100m to up to 3,850m, with some similarities to the East African volcanic ridge, currently believed to be the most dense concentration of volcanoes in the world.
The survey was carried out after a suggestion by a third year university student from the University Of Edinburgh called Max Van Wik de Vries.
“Antarctica remains among the least studied areas of the globe, and as a young scientist I was excited to learn about something new and not well understood,” he said.
“After examining existing data on West Antarctica, I began discovering traces of volcanism. Naturally I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of almost 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet.”
Whether or not the volcanoes are still active is yet to be determined, but should inform ongoing seismic monitoring and research in the area.
Dr Robert Bingham, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, said: “It is fascinating to uncover an extensive range of volcanoes in this relatively unexplored continent.
“Better understanding of volcanic activity could shed light on their impact on Antarctica’s ice in the past, present and future, and on other rift systems around the world.”