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Massive Volcano Exploded Under Antarctic Icesheet

AntarcticaA powerful volcano erupted under the icesheet of West Antarctica around 2,000 years ago and it might still be active today, a finding that prompts questions about ice loss from the white continent, British scientists report on Sunday.

The explosive event -- rated "severe" to "cataclysmic" on an international scale of volcanic force -- punched a massive breach in the icesheet and spat out a plume some 12,000 metres (eight miles) into the sky, they calculate.

Most of Antarctica is seismically stable. But its western part lies on a rift in Earth's crust that gives rise to occasional volcanism and geothermal heat, occurring on the Antarctic coastal margins.

This is the first evidence for an eruption under the ice sheet itself -- the slab of frozen water, hundreds of metres (feet) thick in places, that holds most of the world's stock of fresh water.

Source: Yahoo News
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