Study: Volcanoes helped species survive ice ages

As per the study of an international team of researchers, the steam and heat from volcanoes allowed species of plants and animals to survive past ice ages.

About the study of Volcanoes

  • Based on Antarctica. (As it has at least 16 volcanoes which have been active since the last ice age 20,000 years ago).
  • Studied tens of thousands of records of Antarctic species that are collected over decades by hundreds of researchers and found there are more species close to volcanoes, and fewer further away.
  • Examined diversity patterns of mosses, lichens and bugs which are still common in Antarctica these days.
  • Around 60% of Antarctic invertebrate species are found nowhere else in the world.
  • Volcanic steam can melt large ice caves under the glaciers, and it can be tens of degrees warmer in there than outside. Caves and warm steam fields would have been great places for species to hang out during ice ages.
  • Outcome: The study helps scientists to understand how species survived past ice ages in other icy regions, including in periods when it is thought there was little or no ice-free land on the planet.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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