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Possible Thule Eruption Disastrous for Antarctic Ice

Posted by feww on March 2, 2009

A Thule eruption may be a harbinger of an intense period of seismic and volcanic activities in  Antarctica, accelerating ice melt

A possible Thule eruption could signal the start of an intense period of seismic and volcanic activities in Antarctica, FEWW Moderators believe. Increased seismic and volcanic activities in the region could accelerate the ice melt by up to  500 percent [possibly by an even larger factor, if the Antarctic plate fragments as a result of enhanced seismic activity.]


Thule Islands.
Thule (left) and Cook (right) islands are seen surrounded by ice floes in this ASTER satellite image. Douglas Strait, the ice-free area in the center of the image, is underlain by a 4.3 x 4.8 km wide caldera between the two volcanic islands. A third stratovolcano forms Bellingshausen Island, just out of view to the right. The Thule Islands lie at the southern end of the South Sandwich island arc bordering the Scotia Sea and consist of three stratovolcanoes constructed along an E-W-trending line. ASTER satellite image, 2003 (National Aeronautical and Space Administration, courtesy of ASTER science team). Caption: GVP.

Baker forecast a possible eruption of  the Thule Islands volcano before the end of last century. According to Global Volcanism Program, GVP, “steam was observed at the summit crater of Thule Island in 1962,”  and ash appeared  there as well as on Bellingshausen Island, “indicating possible 20th-century eruptions (Baker, 1968).”  It’s also believed that a “small explosion crater formed on the southern flank of Bellinghausen Island sometime between 1964 and 1986.”

Recent seismic activity near the Thule Islands suggest that an eruption may occur.

Related Links:

References:

  • Baker P E, 1968. Comparative volcanology and petrology of the Atlantic island arcs. Bull Volc, 32: 189-206
  • Thule Islands Data Sources

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