Lava lake discovered on sub-Antarctic island

Last updated at 05:31
icy-volcano-with-steam-at-craterAlex Burton-Johnson
A lake of lava has been discovered in a snow covered volcano in the sub-Antarctic

An ocean near the South Pole may not be the obvious place to look for lava!

But in the icy South Sandwich Islands in the Southern Ocean, a lake of fiery hot lava has been discovered inside a volcano!

Researchers believe that the lake could be between 90 and 215 metres across, and the temperature of the lava could be more than 1,000 Celsius.

That means the lava is ten times hotter than boiling water.

Experts thought they had discovered the lava lake a number of years ago in an active volcano, but its existence has only been confirmed now due to better quality satellite pictures.

lava-lake-erta-ale-volcanoGetty Images
There are now eight known lava lakes in the world - including this one in the Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia, Africa

Lead scientist of the study into the volcano Danielle Gray explained how tricky this research is for scientists.

"It is extremely difficult to access, and without high-resolution satellite imagery it would have been very challenging to learn more about this amazing geological feature."

satellite-image-volcanoLandsat, Sentinel-2 and ASTER satellite imagery
The satellite pictures confirm that there is an unusual area of geothermal activity in the centre of the volcano

There are seven other lava lakes in the world and they can be found in volcanoes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Vanuatu, Hawaii and Nicaragua.

A final lava lake can be found in the Mount Erebus volcano in Antarctica.

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