Thwaites Glacier Newest_Image1.png

 Figure 1: Glacial melt areas (1992-2017) shaded in red, West Antarctica’s sub-glacial Marie Byrd Bedrock Mantle Plume “Hotspot” outlined in red and a sub-glacial Pluton Rich “hotspot” outlined in red. (Credit NASA and J. Kamis).


Rapid melting of Antarctica’s Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers is the result of subglacial bedrock heat flow from a well-known and precisely mapped regional geological “Hotspot” called the Marie Byrd Mantle Plume, not Global Warming/Climate Change (Figure 1).

This massive 620,000 square mile Hotspot and its associated 100 active or erupting subglacial volcanoes, are acting to bottom melt a significant portion of West Antarctica's ice sheet.  Even more telling, 46 of these active subglacial volcanoes are positioned directly beneath the Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glaciers.  Recent research proves that one volcano is currently erupting beneath the Pine Island Glacier.

Mantle Plumes are gigantic deep-earth, mushroom-shaped pods of hot molten lava. The mushroom stem portion of a mantle plume extends downward 1,800 miles to the boundary between Earth’s lower mantle and outer core layers.

Here, the mantle plume stem taps into massive stores of molten lava which it circulates upward and onto the base of shallow rock layers near earth’s surface. Upon intersection with these shallow rock layers, the molten lava spreads outward forming the mushroom top of the plume.

The shallow mushroom top (magma chamber) of mantle plumes is continuously recharged with new molten lava by the mushroom stem (convective conduit).  This recharging process acts to put immense pressure and stress on the top of the magma chamber and as a result, it often ruptures.

These ruptures are manifested as surface geological features such as volcanoes (Underwood 2018), faults (Kamis 2018), and local uplifted areas (Barletta 2018).  All these geological features constantly emit significant amounts of heat and chemically charged heated fluid into oceans, atmosphere, and as is relevant to this article onto the base of polar ice sheets.

Researchers have discovered numerous active Marie Byrd Mantle Plume related geological features beneath the areas average 4,000 thousand feet of glacial ice.

In the Pine Island Glacier area researchers identified:

  • One currently erupting subglacial volcano (Loose 2017).

  • Two recently erupted volcanoes. One in 1974 and the other in 1985 (Global VolcanismR Program).

  • Six semi-active subglacial volcanos (De Vries 2017 and Figure 2).

  • Three times normal bedrock heat flow (Schroeder 2014).

  • Discovery of a laterally extensive, 2,000-year-old and very thick layer of volcanic ash suspended within the areas 4,000 feet of glacial ice (see here).

Additional information concerning the volcanic and geological activity in the Pine Island Glacier area can be found at Kamis 2014, Kamis 2016, Kamis 2016, Kamis 2016, and Kamis 2018.

In the Thwaites Glacier area researchers have identified:

  • 40-27 semi-active subglacial volcanoes dependent on the catchment basin area definition (De Vries 2017 and Figure 2).

  • Three times normal bedrock heat flow (Schroeder 2014).

  • Evidence of a very significant eruption which occurred 2,000 years ago which acted to alter the entire southern hemisphere’s climate. The researchers also concluded that this specific volcano could erupt at any time (Kamis 2017)

  • Abnormally high bedrock heat flow in a large area that encompasses the Thwaites Glacial Basin (Schroeder 2015).

  • Evidence directly linking Thwaites Glacier melting to high geothermal heat flow (DeSanto 2019)

Thwaites Glacier Newest_Image2.png

Figure 2: Outline of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers (blue hatched areas). Subglacial Marie Byrd Mantle Plume volcanoes that are located directly beneath these glaciers (colored circles, larger circles are larger volcanos, black outlined circles are volcanoes identified by other studies, and circle color indicates volcano identification confidence factor, credit De Vries 2017).


Additional information concerning the volcanic and geological activity in the Thwaites Glacier area can be found at Kamis 2014, Kamis 2016, and Kamis 2018.

 The image atop this article is possibly the strongest and most convincing evidence that the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers are melting the result of mantle plume heat flow.

It is taken from a 2017 NASA study of rapid ice melting across the entire Antarctic Continent. The strong correlation of abnormal ice sheet melting with the location of the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers and underlying Marie Byrd Mantle Plume is undeniable.

Knowing that significant amounts of geologically induced mantle plume heat flow are present beneath both glaciers, it is then reasonable to state that the correlation is proof of a cause and effect relationship. 


Research study after research study have proven beyond any doubt that the 620,000-square-mile subglacial Marie Byrd Mantle Plume and its associated geological features are emitting massive amounts of ice melting heat and heated fluid onto the base of the Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glaciers.

Failure of the media and many scientists to include in their numerous articles this telling scientific evidence is difficult to reconcile with proper scientific methodology.  A methodology which states that new and relevant data should be used to review old supposedly 100% settled theories.

Most of these research studies have been released one by one during the last three years which has led to minimizing their collective importance.  Numerous previous Climate Change Dispatch articles written by this author beginning in 2014 have inexplicably been ignored by mainstream media outlets.

It’s time for the media and scientists advocating the theory of Global Warming / Climate Change to inform the public of the dominant role geologically induced  bedrock heat flow plays in melting Antarctica's ice sheet.