Arctic seafloor afire with lava-spewing volcanoes

The scale and magnitude of the explosive activity dwarfs anything seen on other mid-ocean ridges.

Judging by the amount of gas and molten lava blasting out of underwater volcanoes near the North Pole, the Arctic seafloor is geologically explosive. Literally.

“Explosive volatile discharge has clearly been a widespread, and ongoing, process,” according to an international team that sent unmanned probes to the scalding waters far beneath the Arctic ice.

Red-hot magma blows off the tops of dozens of submarine volcanoes

The team found that red-hot magma has been rising from deep inside the earth and blown the tops off dozens of submarine volcanoes, four km (2.4 miles) below the ice. “Jets or fountains of material were probably blasted one, maybe even two, km (.6 to 1.2 miles) up into the water,” says geophysicist Robert Sohn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who led the expedition.

Imagine the explosive power it took to overcome water pressure that far down. According one estimate, the water pressure where the Titanic came to rest – about 2.5 miles below the surface – is more than 6,500 pounds per square inch. Imagine the force that could propel volcanic debris more than a mile upward through that kind of pressure.

Mid-ocean ridges

The team sent three unmanned probes down through the ice to explore a small stretch of the Gakkel Ridge where a swarm of undersea earthquakes had occurred in 1999.

The probes, one of which was able to manuever just two to five meters (7 to 16 feet) above the ocean floor, discovered evidence of remarkable under-sea eruptions. They found dozens of distinctive flat-topped volcanoes whose eruptions had scattered a layer of dark, smoky volcanic glass across the seabed.

Dwarfs anything we’ve seen on other mid-ocean ridges

“The scale and magnitude of the explosive activity that we’re seeing here dwarfs anything we’ve seen on other mid-ocean ridges,” says Sohn, who studies ridges around the world. The volume of gas and lava that appears to have blasted out of the Gakkel volcanoes is “much, much higher” than that seen at other ridges.

Huge volumes of CO2 gas

Black smoker
Black smoker

The scientists say the heat released by the explosions is not contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice, but Sohn says the huge volumes of CO2 gas that belched out of the undersea volcanoes likely contributed to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. How much, he couldn’t say.

“I had the impression this whole central volcano area was oozing warm fluid,” says Henrietta Edmonds of the University of Texas, who was on the expedition tracking the plumes of warm waters rising from the spreading ridge. The plumes point to the presence of “gushing black smokers” as well as microbial and other forms of life that can thrive in scalding, mineral-rich waters that percolates out of spreading ridges, opines Edmonds.

“Not contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice”?

How in the world can they say that underwater volcanoes are “not contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice”?

Measuring some 1,800 km (1,100 miles) long, the Gakkel Ridge is made up of mile after mile after mile of huge underwater volcanoes. This chain of underwater volcanoes is far mightier than the Alps, which  measure “only” 1,200 km (750 mi.) long. The entire chain of submarine volcanoes certainly dwarfs the miniscule 30 km- (18-mile-) long area that these scientists explored.

How many of these huge volcanoes are active? No one seems to know (or at least we’re not being told about it).

What is clear, however, is that this is not an isolated incident. I posted an article about the Gakkel Ridge back in 2006 entitled “Underwater volcanic activity in the Arctic Ocean far stronger than anyone imagined.”

In that article, I described the findings of the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge Expedition (AMORE), which included scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and other international institutions.

Magmatism “dramatically” higher than expected

The scientists had expected that the Gakkel ridge would exhibit “anemic” magmatism. Instead, they found “surprisingly strong magmatic activity in the West and the East of the ridge and one of the strongest hydrothermal activities ever seen at mid-ocean ridges.” Indeed, magmatism was “dramatically” higher than expected.

Hydrothermal hot springs on the seafloor were also far more abundant than predicted.

“We expected this to be a hydrothermally dead ridge, and almost every time our water measurement instrument came up, they showed evidence of hydrothermal activity, and once we even ‘saw’ an active hot spring on the sea floor,” said Dr. Jonathan Snow, the leader of the research group from the Max Planck Institute.

So let me ask you something. These volcanoes are pumping out 2,100-degree-hot basalt and scalding hot water, and yet we are to believe that they are “not contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice”?

C’mon. Let’s get real.

Could answer one question that scientists have pondered for years.

In fact, these underwater volcanoes could answer one question that scientists have been asking for years.

During the last ice age, even though much of Canada was buried beneath one to two miles of ice, studies have shown that ice cover on the Arctic Ocean remained essentially the same as today. No one has been able to explain why. I think underwater volcanic activity on the Gakkel Ridge can provide that missing explanation.

See entire article, “Study finds Arctic seabed afire with lava-spewing volcanos”:

See also:

Thanks to E Hughes for this link

* This article was published on and in the journal Nature, on June 26, 2008. Unfortunately, I did not become aware of it until now. It is apparently of no interest to the mainstream media.

27 thoughts on “Arctic seafloor afire with lava-spewing volcanoes”

  1. And Icelandic activity has shown an increase as well these past few years. Cycles along the ridge as previous article you posted shows, and what you’ve been saying for a long time.

  2. Co2 is not a driver of atmospheric temperatures and neither human activity or volcanic activity seriously affect the winter sea ice extend and ice thickness.

    It’s sea ice so wind and ocean currents have a much more dominant effect like the transport of huge ice masses through the Fram Street into the Atlantic

    There is no problem with the Arctic Ice or the air temperatures.


  3. The planet is full of interesting surprises. Just when men decide that they have figured everything out, the monkey wrench of Natural Change smacks them on their noggins and sends them scurrying back to their drawing boards.

  4. “The scientists say the heat released by the explosions is not contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice, but Sohn says the huge volumes of CO2 gas that belched out of the undersea volcanoes likely contributed to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases”…..
    Ummmmm.. so massive dumps of heat and magma have no impact whatsoever on the region, but the exuded CO2 does?

    • It is laughable. I’d be interested in knowing how they determined that expelled CO2 was “likely contributing to rising concentrations of GHG”, based on IPCC scientists’ claims that natural causes have been minor modulators to the global temperature. Did they see a spike in C-14:C-12 ratios? Or are they clever enough to be broadly ambiguous by saying that it WAS contributing but ignoring the extent and magnitude?

      The whole “climate change” argument is fraught with reasons to be skeptical. I’ve yet to be convinced that what the scientific community has said is “settled” science is, in fact, even remotely accurate. From a legal perspective, you are innocent until proven guilty, and if enough doubt exists, guilt cannot be established. In the realm of CAGW we would be told to believe that we as humanity are guilty until proven innocent – i.e. that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of the majority of global warming seen in the late 20th century and it must be curbed through taxation and technological change – but even that premise is suspect when one considers that the sun has been at a historical high activity level as well. Why the idea that skepticism is seen akin to denying the Holocaust is proof of the alarmist desire to impose their thought control on us.

      It will not succeed.

  5. Earths core,magma,magnetosphere is earths furnace not excluding the sun or the big guy…these are the foundation or the players which allow life a foothold to exist.These vents recycle elements,disolve minerals,expel co2 which is the genesis of the food chain.When earths magma,core,volcanics and quakes cease..its gameover well before the next fullscale iceage!!

  6. Let’s see…

    #1. Hot water rises …. Check

    #2. Icebergs melt from the bottom …. Check

    However the winds and storms in the arctic have certainly proved to be a major factor in moving the ice south so it melts.

  7. It’s interesting that the small trickle of positive news regarding natural reasons for warming and cooling, the cyclic nature of Ridge eruptions and the CO2 they inject into the ocean is occurring now and increasing numbers. It seems that academia has been unwilling to publish for fear of loss of funding, or for publications to publish and risk criticism from the Warmist majority. This fraud is slowly unwinding. We will need all forms of energy production in the cool period to come. The next Ice age may now be 10 or 20 human generations away; it will take that amount of time to move our infrastructure off planet, otherwise we go back to the stone age.

  8. This is not really a surprise that the North Pole was hardly any thicker than it is today about 20,000 years ago. The ice is constantly flowing and jostling about in a way you cannot achieve on land.
    Also you need to consider how each meter of sea level drop equates to an extra meter of altitude for the land and mountains. This will make the snow line look lower, encouraging further build up of glaciers.
    However, we learn Beringia was ice free despite current day Alaska having appalling winters and I have to say that I am surprised to see Greenland is a miniature Antarctica while Alaska and Siberia are green and productive lands. I even wonder if there ever were times when the pattern of distribution of ice may have been one of say Alaska looking like a Xmas cake while Greenland was closer to what its name suggests LOL.

    • Currently we are in the Holocene period of the Earth’s geological history which marked the boundary of the Last major Ice age, immediately prior to those Glaciations is a much warmer geological warm period called the Eemian
      At the peak of the Eemian, the Northern Hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than now, though some areas were actually slightly cooler than today. The hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine and Thames.[3] Trees grew as far north as southern Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: currently, the northern limit is further south at Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec. Coastal Alaska was warm enough during the summer due to reduced sea ice in the Arctic Ocean to allow Saint Lawrence Island (now tundra) to have boreal forest, although inadequate precipitation caused a reduction in the forest cover in interior Alaska and Yukon Territory despite warmer conditions.[4] The prairie-forest boundary in the Great Plains of the United States lay further west near Lubbock, Texas, whereas the current boundary is near Dallas, Texas. The period closed as temperatures steadily fell to conditions cooler and drier than the present, with 468-year-long aridity pulse in central Europe,[5] and by 114,000 years ago, a glacial period had returned.

      • Nicholas J. Shackleton, Maria Fernanda Sanchez-Goni, Delphine Pailler, Yves Lancelot (2002). “Marine Isotope Substage 5e and the Eemian Interglacial”. Elsevier.
      • • NEEM community members (2013). “Eemian interglacial reconstructed from a Greenland folded ice core”. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature11789.
      • • van Kolfschoten, Th. (2000). “The Eemian mammal fauna of central Europe”. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 79 (2/3): 269–281. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
      • •
      • • Sirocko, Frank; et al. (2005). “A late Eemian aridity pulse in central Europe during the last glacial inception”. Nature 436 (7052): 833–836. Bibcode:2005Natur.436..833S. doi:10.1038/nature03905. PMID 16094365.
      • Kaspar, Frank; et al. (2005). “A model-data comparison of European temperatures in the Eemian interglacial”. Geophysical Research Letters 32 (L11703): L11703. Bibcode:2005GeoRL..3211703K. doi:10.1029/2005GL022456

  9. anyone else wondering how they state what a termite mounds co2 n methane etc output is..
    but slide outta any figures on co2 from undersea natural events? and you can bet they had co2 /pressure/volume flow etc in their taxpayer funded arsenal of instruments
    the info they dont see fit to share..hmm

  10. These undersea volcanoes might effect the gulf stream especially the cold water that flows at depth back to the equator. They could weaken the sinking of this cold current and slow down the warm gulf stream waters which keeps NW Europe mild.

  11. SPACE REF reports that the SUN is in a condition similar to the period before Dalton and during it.

    “It has been a huge surprise to observe that in the 18th century the levels of the Sun’s activity were practically the same as they are now,” points out Jos M. Vaquero, researcher at the University of Extremadura (Spain) and co-author of the research, a review of the number of sunspots recorded in the last 400 years.

    Its a great pity that specs which could not be seen in 18th Centry are now recorded as full sun spots, you cant win then all.

  12. Magma at over 700 degrees C bursting into the Arctic ocean combined with the inexorable “Gulf Stream” delivering tropical warmed waters to the Arctic can cause Arctic ice melt ??

    Everyone knows it is the atmosphere with its near freezing temperature and a density one thousand times less than water that causes Arctic ice decline.

    Now open your holy book to Chapter 42 verse 1 and repeat –

    “There is no pause – the greenhouse gases already up there will overcome the Sun’s ability to cool – and the greenhouse effect and global warming will come roaring back” – just you wait.

    The above “gospel” are real quotes by climate scientists by the way – only the names have been changed to protect the innocent – if any alarmist is actually “innocent”.

    • Left out chapter 43 verse 1,
      climate change is more dangerous and prevalent that Islam extremist. Now repeat after me, “Obama is god, Obama is god, louder……”.


  13. … this rticle showed up on my fb newsfeed … love the article, enjoyed your few minutes on C2C Robert, always grounded and informative ….
    … the annoyance is, when i went to share the article to my fb page, a security check cameup and wanted me to type in a scrambled word to a box … [strange] … worse yet, the word was a curse … f—- y– … do niot know if this has ever happened to others … blessings … have supported you since Not by Fire but by Ice came out …

      • I would suggest his fb has been compromised and is being monitored from another location. Have your fw group track down the source, can be expensive if it is not part of the package though.

        see ya

  14. So this extraordinary magmatic activity miles down on the seafloor of Arctic Ocean may explain the apparent paradox of the melting and thining of the Arctic ice sheet so quickly attributed by the IPCC to the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect, while in the same time the Antarctic ice sheet extension was observed during the last austral winters as the broadest ever recorded, a result of the very low temperatures this continent has recently undergone.
    The french base Dumont d’Urville in Terre Adelie has recorded the month of june 2014 as the coldest june month ever since this base was settled (1956)

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