A crater on an East Antarctic glacier, once considered the work of a meteorite, is actually the result of heat flow from a collapsing volcanic caldera, and not from global warming.
Numerous alarmist media reports, citing research by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the University of Leuven in Belgium, disagree. They hypothesize that Climate Change is at work here generating this circular glacial feature, and in a broader sense inferring that the early stages of widespread East Antarctic Global Warming induced glacial melting has begun (see here, and here).
Accordingly, global warming-induced winds act to strip off snow from East Antarctic Glaciers exposing underlying hard, old, and dark-blue glacial ice. Once exposed, the overlying atmosphere further darkens the hard glacial ice thereby making it even more susceptible to absorbing solar radiation / heat. increased solar radiation acts to melt massive amounts of glacial ice, in some cases forming circular glacial collapse.
This explanation has numerous problems and is an attempt to force-fit a man-made global warming solution to what is actually an uncomplicated and perfectly natural phenomenon. A much more reasonable explanation that is supported by recent modern examples and more properly fits all the information, ascribes this feature heat flow from a sub-glacial volcanic crater (Caldera).
And there’s lots of evidence to back this up.
The Antarctic continent has been experiencing dramatically increased volcanic activity during the last two years (see here, here, and here). Three volcanoes have recently erupted along the northern trace of the West Antarctic Rift / Fault System, one volcano is currently erupting along the south trace of this fault, and the Big Ben Volcano on the Kerguelen Plateau adjacent to East Antarctica just erupted. Clearly things have been heating up.
Calderas are known to exist in Antarctica, with some still semi-active as exemplified by West Antarctica’s Deception Island Caldera (see here).
Circular glacial collapse features, such as the ones that just occurred in Iceland, are known to be associated with active heat flowing Calderas (see here, and here). Both of Iceland’s sub-glacial volcanic collapse craters, Baroarbunga (see Figure 1) and Skafta, have been recently melting the base of overlying glaciers, creating circular collapse features, and outflowing huge amounts of glacial melt water.
The exact location of the East Antarctic glacial collapse feature, which is the focus of this article, has not yet been divulged; however, it is known to be in the general vicinity of the East Antarctica Amery Ice Shelf (Figure 2). If located correctly, it is with a series of recently discovered sub-glacial liquid freshwater lakes that lie atop the newly discovered East Antarctic Rift / Fault System (Figure 2). This major rift / fault system likely gets it energy / heat by tapping downward into underlying deep earth magma / hot lava chambers (see here).
As the saying goes a picture, or in this case two pictures, are worth a thousand words. The aerial photos below compare Iceland’s currently active Skafta Glacial Ice Cauldron, a circular glacial collapse feature known to be caused by an underlying sub-glacial volcanic collapse crater (caldera) on the left, to East Antarctica’s circular glacial collapse feature on the right. Even though the picture qualities vary, the visual geometric / shape similarities are striking. This further strengthens / adds to the idea that geological volcanic forces are responsible for generating the East Antarctic circular glacial collapse feature.
In summary, the recent development of an East Antarctica circular glacial feature is almost certainly related to deep earth volcanic heat and heated fluid flow, and not global warming. At the very least this possibility should be given consideration by the consensus climate science community. If this volcanic-induced heat flow continues unabated, it would eventually melt a large overlying circular portion of the affected East Antarctic glacier. This event would validate an extremely significant tenet of the Plate Climatology Theory…. geological forces are underappreciated and unmonitored driver of Antarctic Polar Ice dynamics.
James Edward Kamis is a Geologist and AAPG member of 42 years with a B.S. and M.S. in geology who has always been fascinated by the connection between Geology and Climate. More than 12 years of research / observation have convinced him that the Earth’s Heat Flow Engine, which drives the outer crustal plates, is also an important driver of the Earth’s climate. The Plate Climatology Theory (plateclimatology.com) was recently presented at the annual 2016 American Metrological Society Conference in New Orleans, LA.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mysterious-crater-in-antarctica-has-ominous-cause/ Antarctic Glacial Circular Feature
http://www.livescience.com/49545-east-antarctica-crater-new-explanation.html Antarctic Glacial Circular Feature
http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2014/08/19/beneath-an-icelandic-glacier-another-eruption-brewing/ Sub-Glacial Iceland Collapse Caldera
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6296/aaf8988 Iceland’s sub-glacial Bardarbunga Volcanic Caldera collapse is 6 miles wide
http://gji.oxfordjournals.org/content/202/1/446.full Iceland’s sub-glacial collapse volcanic crater (caldera) melts overlying ice in circular
http://www.livescience.com/46194-volcanoes-melt-antarctic-glaciers.html West Antarctica sub-glacial heat flow from sub-glacial volcanoes
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24589-seething-volcano-buried-under-antarcticas-ice/ West Antarctica sub-glacial heat flow from sub-glacial volcanoes
http://articles.latimes.com/2013/nov/17/science/la-sci-sn-volcano-ice-antarctica-20131115 West Antarctica sub-glacial heat flow from sub-glacial volcanoes
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2509225/Active-volcano-Antarctica-speed-melting.html West Antarctica sub-glacial heat flow from sub-glacial volcanoes
http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/44/2/87 East Antarctica sub-glacial major fault / rift system and associated sub-glacial liquid freshwater lakes
http://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=4248 Map and discussion of Icelands Skafta Glacial Cauldron
http://icelandreview.com/news/2016/09/08/minor-glacial-outburst-flood-skafta-river Iceland’s sub-glacial Skafta Volcanic Caldera becomes active and floods adjacent rivers on September 8, 2016.
https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/deception_island.html West Antarctica’s volcanic collapse Caldera, Deception Island
http://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=390030 West Antarctica’s volcanic collapse Caldera, Deception Island
https://climatechangedispatch.com/new-discoveries-revolutionize-polar-ice-cap-science/ East Antarctica sub-glacial fault / rift and assocaited high basal glacier melting geological heat flow