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An underwater volcano caused 85,000 earthquakes in just 4 months near Antarctica




The strongest seismic activity ever recorded in Antarctica saw a swarm of 85,000 earthquakes that occurred in just a four-month period in 2020. It resulted in a volcano that had been dormant for so long, and it finally woke up.

The earthquake swarm started in August of 2020 and faded in about 4 months by November of the same year. New research published in Communications Earth & Environment suggests that the massive earthquake swarm was likely the result of a “finger” of hot magma rushing into the Earth’s crust.

Such “interferences” have been observed in other regions of the planet, but the August-November 2020 activity was the first recorded in Antarctica, Live Science quotes study co-author Simone Cesca GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam.

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The scientist says that the phenomenon that occurred in Antarctica usually occurs over very long periods of time compared to the human lifespan, which makes the observation “lucky,” the scientist says.

The place where the earthquake erupted is known as the Orca Marine, an inactive volcano 900 meters (2,950 ft) above the sea floor in the Bransfield Strait that lies between the northwest tip of the continent and the South Shetland Islands. It was at a research station on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands that scientists first noticed the small tremors.

A study published in Polar Science in 2018, revealed that one tectonic plate that lies beneath another has given rise to a network of fault zones in the region that have created faults in some places and expanded the crust in others.

Among the series of earthquakes that hit the region, the two strongest were of magnitude 5.9 (in October 2020) and 6.0 (in November 2002). Activity subsided after the great November earthquake. The scientist added that an underwater volcanic eruption, if it occurred, was likely at this time. However, no direct evidence has yet been found that could point to a massive undersea volcanic eruption.

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