Zoom through a ‘spectacular’ chain of ancient underwater volcanoes on Antarctic ocean floor

New high-resolution maps of the seafloor halfway between Tasmania and Antarctica have revealed a chain of underwater volcanoes whose towering peaks may sculpt ocean currents above.

The submarine volcanoes, or seamounts, sit 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) below the waves and directly in the path of the strongest ocean current on Earth — the Antarctic Circumpolar Current — which flows clockwise around Antarctica and acts as a barrier that helps keep the icy continent frozen. Now, scientists have mapped an area where this barrier appears to be leaking, which is enabling swirls of warm water to reach the shores of Antarctica.