The British Antarctic Survey has been flying routine surveying missions over the western Antarctic ice sheets for several years. They've covered the area pretty thoroughly, so it might sound odd that they've only recently discovered a volcano. But, explains David Vaughan, a glaciologist with the BAS, it wasn't the easiest thing to spot, given that it's buried under several hundred meters of ice. Dr. Vaughan and his colleagues recently discovered the volcano when radar images revealed a layer of volcanic ash, like a layer of icing in a wedding cake, buried half-way down in the ice. Beneath the ice, says Dr. Vaughan, is a tuya, a flat-topped volcano, like the kind found under the glaciers in Iceland. It turns out that the volcano in Antarctica last erupted during the lifetime of Alexander the Great and sent a plume of ash and steam about 12 kilometers into the sky.
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The British Antarctic Survey