NASA: Additional Geologic Forces Behind West Antarctic Ice Melt

Written by James Edward Kamis

New research by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows that a geothermal heat source situated far below Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land is the likely cause for some of the melting beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (see herehere, and here).

While this would explain some of the instability seen today and past collapses, there are also other factors at play I’ll describe shortly. The NASA research shows that bottom melting, which lubricates the underside of glaciers and creates underground lakes and rivers, has a far greater influence on ice loss than atmospheric global warming.

The study is an admission by one of the most prominent science institutions that geological forces are a greatly underappreciated and powerful driver of Earth’s climate and climate-related events.

In this case, melting of glacial ice across portions of an entire continent. This validates the building blocks of the Plate Climatology Theory, which was formally introduced in October 2014.

The results of the NASA Study will also have many moral and political implications as it shows scientific theories should never be considered “settled,” governments should never act to inhibit or prevent the practice of non-mainstream scientific research, freelance writers shouldn’t be demeaned or punished for presenting alternative theories.

NASA’s Antarctic research indicates that a powerful mantle plume, thought to have formed 50-110 million years ago long before the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) formed, is positioned just beneath the shallow bedrock layers of West Antarctic’s Marie Byrd Land. Mantle plumes are “narrow streams of hot rock that spread like a ‘mushroom’ cap beneath the Earth’s surface.”

Mantle plumes are indeed capable of generating and fueling many shallow bedrock features such as land volcanoes, ocean floor volcanoes, hydrothermal vents (ocean floor hot geysers), and heat-emitting faults, and lava flowing tubes.

NASA’s discovery of the presence of a mantle plume beneath Antarctica would, in fact, provide a reasonable explanation for the now-proven abnormal heat flow beneath the WAIS. However, there is still a minor flaw in their research.

Other Factors

A major factor likely contributing to ice melt is the divergent rift system, specifically the 5,000-mile-long West Antarctic Rift (WAR), and not a single mantle plume, as the true source of elevated bedrock heat flow in the West Antarctic region. Yes, both mantle plumes and rift systems are massive bedrock heat sources, but they are different geological animals that co-exist deep beneath the surface.

Mantle plumes are fixed, non-moving hot lava sources that act to progressively form individual volcanic islands above them as upper rock layers move very slowly over the plume. The Hawaiian Islands are an excellent example of this process (see here) occurring in real time.

But that’s not what is happening in West Antarctica.

To the contrary, there is abundant geological evidence that clearly shows the WAR system is the root cause of West Antarctic ice melt. Deep-earth images from remote sensing techniques (seismic, gravity, density) clearly show the numerous, deep-earth faults. These active faults create open pathways into deep-earth hot lava pockets.

Once tapped, the molten lava (magma) pulses upward to the bedrock’s surface. Successive lava pulses along the entire 5,000-mile extent of the WAR are acting to tear the entire continent apart. This ripping process has formed two distinct continental segments, East and West Antarctica. Indeed, it is now known that “West Antarctica is moving away from East Antarctica in a north/northeasterly direction (toward the South Georgia Islands) at a rate of about two millimeters per year (0.079 in/year).”

Additionally, this process has generated and fueled “hundreds of associated heat-flowing volcanic features and is responsible for all the recently active volcanoes inside the continent and for most of the major mountain systems outside the Antarctic Peninsula.” (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Map illustrating many of Antarctica’s 150 semi-active, active, or erupting volcanoes located along the branching West Antarctic Rift / Fault System. This active fault zone is pushing/diverging the Antarctic Continent apart and allowing deep hot magma to flow up the faults feeding the volcanoes. Progressive upward pulses of the lava act to push the continent apart along the expanding faults.

In summary, the recent NASA Antarctic research study has clearly shown that geologically induced heat flow and not global warming is the root cause of West Antarctic glacial and sea ice melting. This is a stunning admission by the pro-global warming scientists at NASA. The scientific, political, and moral implications of their study will absolutely stun the world.

Hopefully, the results of this study show other people a plausible alternative to many of Earth’s anomalous climate and climate-related events as described in Plate Climatology Theory.

Finally, it seems appropriate to end this article with an image that visually expresses the true power of geological forces. Knowing that geological forces move entire continents sideways measurable distances per year, they certainly have the power to greatly influence Earth’s climate (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Image of earth’s paper thin ocean layers, moderately thin bedrock surface layers, and the very thick brightly colored / super-heated massive inner earth layers (credit National Geographic)

Final thoughts

In a broad sense, the NASA research conclusions represent a huge victory for the many freelance writers who dared to oppose the supposedly so-called settled global warming science. These writers were not intimidated, instead, courageously persevered the storm by consistently putting forth plausible, fact-based alternate views.

A select few of these freelance writers also provided dissenting scientists with open website platforms, which have allowed them to present their alternative views and climate theories. The Climate Change Dispatch website is at the top of this list. Freelance writing, which played a vital role in forming the United States of America, is still alive and well.

About the author: James Edward Kamis is a retired Geologist with 42 years of experience, a B.S. in Geology from Northern Illinois University (1973), and M.S. in geology from Idaho State University (1977) who has always been fascinated by the connection between Geology and Climate. More than 12 years of research/observation have convinced him that the Earth’s Heat Flow Engine, which drives the outer crustal plates, is an important driver of the Earth’s climate. Plate Climatology Theory ( was formally introduced on October 7, 2014, and published at the annual 2016 American Metrological Society Conference in New Orleans on January 13, 2016 (see here). James has authored more than fifty Climate Change Dispatch articles discussing the relationship between geological forces and climate.

REFERENCES NASA Antarctica Volcanic Research Study NASA Antarctica Volcanic Research Study NASA Antarctica Volcanic Research Study Summarizing British Antarctic Survey’s Circumpolar Research Study British Antarctic Survey’s Circumpolar Ocean Research Study  British Antarctic Survey Home Page,-southern-oceanUniversity of Tasmania Research of Concerning the Influence of geological Induced Ocean Floor Heat Floow Drives Phytoplankton Blooms of Tasmania’s Kerguelen Volcanic Plateau Research Study (Discusses Ocean Floor Geologically Induced High Heat Flow, Effects on Marine Biology, and Ocean Waters Australian Antarctic Divisions Article of How “Volcanic Hotspot May Fortify Ocean Life”. It Discusses the Discovery of the Measured Massive Flow of Chemically Charged (Iron) Heated Fluid Flow from Numerous Kerguelen Volcanic Plateau Volcanic Features Warm and Iron Charge the Surrounding Ocean Column and Effect Marine Life. Summary of How Volcanoes Effect Chemistry and Temperature of Antarctica’s Ocean Floor Kerguelen Volcanic Plateau Geology of the Kerguelen Volcanic Plateau Kerguelen Volcanic Plateau Forams as a Proxy for Heat Flow / Deglaciation Ocean Floor Hydrothermal Vents (ocean floor hot geysers) Control Ocean Plankton Growth NOAA Research of Hydrothermal Vents (ocean floor hot Geysers) that shows the heated and chemically charged fluid emitted from the Vents are a Major Controller of both Zooplankton and Phytoplankton. Also, vents typically have Upward Spiraling Vortexes.  Global Warming Hiatus Antarctica Long Term Atmospheric Trends Antarctica Multi-Year Averaged Surface and Air Temperature Maps. NASA Study from 2015 Points Out Difference Between Antarctic Continent Ice Volume and minor Changes in Antarctic Sea Extent