Volcanoes could have helped species survive ice ages

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Volcanoes could have helped species survive ice ages

Volcanoes, known for violent explosions and toxic fumes, may have been responsible for saving some species during the ice ages. (Via U.S. Geological Survey)

A new study says volcanoes provided warm areas for things like mosses, lichens and bugs to thrive while the rest of the world was covered in glaciers. (Via National Geographic)

The study specifically looked at volcanoes in Antarctica. One researcher says: "The closer you get to volcanoes, the more species you find. This pattern supports our hypothesis that species have been expanding their ranges and gradually moving out from volcanic areas since the last ice age." (Via Nature World News)

The last ice age was 20,000 years ago, and since that time Antarctica has had at least 16 active volcanoes. (Via YouTube / Jiri VonDrak)

So how exactly did volcanoes make the world a more livable place? The study’s lead author explains.

"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." (Via Sci-News.com)

So I guess you can now also think of volcanoes as an prehistoric radiator. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

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