ANTARTICA - Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, may have a lot of company lurking out of sight. Scientists are using seismographs to hunt for hidden volcanoes in Antarctica.
Scientists have used radar and other imaging technology to uncover some astounding finds under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet: A vast mountain range that rivals the Alps, and Lake Vostok, one of Earth’s largest lakes. Finally, seismographs can reveal hidden sources of seismic activity — little earthquakes that could be the signatures of active volcanoes hidden under the ice. “It’s really the first time we’re able to look at the interior structure of the mantle,” said Andrew Lloyd, a WSLU Ph.D. student who traveled hundreds of miles by snowmobile to help retrieve some of the seismographs — and the reams of data they recorded. “It will enable us to say something really definitive about the tectonics and geology of the region, which is something nobody has been able to do before,” Lloyd said. Wiens said that the data are already revealing a tantalizing picture of what is going on beneath West Antarctica, a place that is, in the words of one scientist, “hemorrhaging ice. We do see these big variations in the temperature in the mantle across parts of Antarctica that will have a big effect on the ice sheet,” Wiens said. However, he added, many months of work lie ahead, and it will be some time before scientists are ready to announce to the world what lies beneath the ice. –Live Science
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