Volcanoes in Arctic Ocean

Not by Fire but by Ice


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Underwater volcanic activity in the Arctic Ocean 
far stronger than anyone imagined

Confirms my belief that underwater volcanic activity 
is heating the seas; not human activity


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28 Oct 06 - German-American researchers have discovered more hydrothermal activity at the Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean than anyone ever imagined. 

"The Gakkel ridge is a gigantic volcanic mountain chain stretching beneath the Arctic Ocean. With its deep valleys 5,500 meters beneath the sea surface and its 5,000 meter- high summits, Gakkel ridge is far mightier than the Alps." 

Two research icebreakers, the "USCGC Healy" from USA and the German "PFS Polarstern," recently joined forces in the international expedition AMORE (Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge Expedition). In attendance were scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and other international institutions. 

The scientists had expected that the Gakkel ridge would exhibit "anemic" magmatism. Instead, they found "surprisingly strong magmatic activity in the West and the East of the ridge and one of the strongest hydrothermal activities ever seen at mid-ocean ridges."  

"The Gakkel ridge extends about 1800 kilometers beneath the Arctic Ocean from north of Greenland to Siberia, and is the northernmost portion of the mid-ocean ridge system." 

To their surprise, the researchers found high levels of volcanic activity. Indeed, magmatism was "dramatically" higher than expected. 

Hydrothermal hot springs on the seafloor were also far more abundant than predicted. "We expected this to be a hydrothermally dead ridge, and almost every time our water measurement instrument came up, they showed evidence of hydrothermal activity, and once we even 'saw' an active hot spring on the sea floor," said Dr. Jonathan Snow, the leader of the research group from the Max Planck Institute. 

No wonder the ice is melting!

See http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/pressR eleases/2003/pressRelease20030718/index.html

(From the Max Planck Society, 18 July 2003, The Fiery Face of the Arctic Deep.
Thanks to Jon C. Olsen for telling me about this.

See also It's not global warming, it's ocean warming



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