By Paul Homewood
The largest volcanic region on Earth has been found thousands of meters below the surface of the ice sheet covering Antarctica.
A survey of the region of the West Antarctic Rift System has revealed 91 new volcanoes hidden within the ice.
The new volcanoes are on top of the 47 whose peaks are above the ice and were already known about.
The volcanoes range in height from 100m to a towering 3,850m tall.
Geologists say the range has similarities to east Africa’s volcanic ridge, which was previously thought to have the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.
It is unclear whether the Antarctic volcanoes are active, but previous studies have suggested that during warmer periods volcanic activity does occur in the region.
If the ice thins as the climate warms it is thought volcanic activity in the area could increase.
Or, there again, volcanic activity could lead to ice melt.