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Czech researchers detect two volcanos under Antarctic ice layer

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Prague, Dec 2 (CTK) – The team of Jaroslav Klokocnik, from the Czech Astronomical Institute (ASU), has detected two volcanos under the ice and snow layer in Antarctica by means of a gravimetric analysis that shows the Earth’s gravitational field and its local anomalies, the ASU has written in a press release.

The scientists named the volcanos Dana and Zuzana, which are female first names widespread in the Czech Republic.

Klokocnik told CTK that new mountains can only be discovered in areas that still remain little explored, such as Antarctica and Greenland.

For this purpose, scientists use the gravimetric data supplied by a special satellite that has been orbiting the Earth at a low altitude since 2009. The data enable to detect various structures on and below the ground surface, he said.

The analyses help detect phenomena such as salt or iron deposits, valleys and a long defunct former river beds, he said.

“We found out that the gravitation signals of volcanos have a specific nature. We decided to look at Antarctica if we could see something like that. And we really saw it,” Klokocnik said about his team’s latest discovery.

The scientists complemented the gravimetric data by topographic information provided by radar measurements, which ascertain the altitude of both the surface and the ground surface below the ice layer. In the case of the two volcanos, the measurements confirmed their shape typical of volcanos.

Klokocnik said he named the Dana volcano, which arises from a lowland and is about 1,000 metres high, after his wife.

“Once I asked her, do you want to have a volcano in Antarctica? She said yes, and it is my Christmas present for her this year,” Klokocnik said.

The other volcano, Zuzana, bears the name of his daughter.

Members of Klokocnik’s team have also uncovered five lakes under the Antarctic ice, naming them all after their wives or daughters.

It is not by chance that female names have a tradition in Antarctica. A part of the continent bears the name of Marie Byrd, the wife of polar explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd who named it so, Klokocnik said.

Apart from volcanos, the method developed by Klokocnik’s team can also be used to detect oil deposits.

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