Home > roleplaying > A “hotspot” is melting the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet at the South Pole. The area affected is three times that of Greater London. Scientists suspect a combination of unusually radioactive rocks and geothermal springs may be responsible.

A “hotspot” is melting the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet at the South Pole. The area affected is three times that of Greater London. Scientists suspect a combination of unusually radioactive rocks and geothermal springs may be responsible.

November 20, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

A “hotspot” is melting the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet at the South Pole. The area affected is three times that of Greater London. Scientists suspect a combination of unusually radioactive rocks and geothermal springs may be responsible.

The warm bedrock is removing some 6mm a year from the underside of the 3km-thick ice sheet, producing a mass of meltwater that then flows away through sub-glacial rivers and lakes towards the continent’s coastline. The roughly 100km-by-50km hotspot came to light when researchers examined radar images of the ice sheet at 88 degrees South. This revealed a startling sagging in the ice layers directly above the hotspot.

_Antarctica is in no danger of melting away as a result of this hotspot.
In the grand scheme of things, the area affected and the amount of melting is simply too small to have a significant impact. But the knowledge adds to our understanding of the under-ice hydrology of the continent. There is vast network of sub-glacial rivers and lakes in Antarctica and they influence the way the ice sheet moves above them._

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46202255

  1. December 24, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Earlier report + abstract here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/07/nasa-volcanic-magma-plume-under-antarctica-may-explain-ice-sheet-instability/
    «in [Marie Byrd Land], the upper bound on the plume-derived geothermal heat flux is 150 mW/m². In contrast, the active lake system of the lower part of Whillans Ice Stream suggests a widespread anomalous mantle heat flux, linked to a rift source.»

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