The massive Antarctic glacier melting from below: Researchers reveal heat from volcanic activity could speed up ice sheet collapse and increase sea levels by 2m
Thwaites Glacier is large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Collapse of the entire sheet would cause an increase of global sea level of between 1 and 2 meters
Glacier is being melted from below by geothermal heat far more quickly than previously thought
Discovery could change predictions of ice melting across the globe
A key glacier in the Antarctic is being melted by heat from volcanic activity on the ocean bed below it, researchers have revealed.
Thwaites Glacier, a large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting from below far more quickly than researchers thought.
They say the finding could dramatically reduce the lifespan on the glacier, which is already believed to be on the path to total collapse.
The cause of the heat being released beneath the glacier is thought to be the movement of magma and associated volcanic activity arising from the rifting of the Earth's crust beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Knowledge of the heat distribution beneath Thwaites Glacier is crucial information that enables ice sheet modelers to more accurately predict the response of the glacier to the presence of a warming ocean.