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Strong geothermal heat found below melting Antarctic ice

Strong geothermal heat found below melting Antarctic ice - A new study has discovered that there is a lot of geothermal heating - from the Earth - underneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, much more than the expectation of the scientists.

The heat was measured by the researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz in the sediments underneath the ice sheet to come to this conclusion. The scientists were stunned to find that the flow of heat that is traveling upward from geothermal sources up underneath the base of the ice is much higher than expected.

Andrew Fisher, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the university, said in a statement that the ice sheet "developed and evolved with the geothermal heat flux coming up from below," which could help in explaining the unstable nature of the ice sheet.

The findings could help in explaining the large subglacial lakes, as well as the strong flow of glacial streams on the ice sheet. The researchers, however, stressed that since the strong heating was noticed only at one spot underneath the ice sheet, it is likely that it is just a localized phenomenon.