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Iceberg floating in front of dormant volcano, Zavadovski island, South Sandwich group, Antarctica

It turns out that Antarctica is just as hot as it is cold. While most of the continent lies beneath a thick — albeit quickly melting — sheet of ice, a volcanic field containing at least 138 dormant volcanoes has been discovered deep underneath the surface of this polar continent. If they erupted, the consequences could have a dramatic impact on life on Earth.

Two kilometers below the surface of west Antarctica, scientists have discovered a vast field of volcanoes, the largest as high as Mt. Eiger in Switzerland, which comprise what is likely the largest volcanic region on earth. A survey conducted by Edinburgh University researchers discovered 91 previously unknown volcanoes in the region this year, and there may be even more.

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