Antarctica is rising unusually quickly, revealing that hot rock in the Earth’s mantle hundreds of miles below the icy continent is flowing much faster than expected, researchers say.

Antarctic ice is more than 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers) thick on some parts of the continent, a reminder that glaciers that were miles thick once covered many parts of Earth’s surface. When these ice sheets shrink, as is happening now in the world’s polar regions due to climate change, the underlying Earth rebounds upward, like how mattresses typically decompress after people get off them.

Past research suggested this rebound involved very slow uplift of the Earth’s surface over thousands of years. However, an international research team now reveals that at GPS stations on the Northern Antarctic Peninsula, the land is actually surging upward at the rate of up to 0.59 inches (15 millimeters) a year. [Vanishing Glaciers: Stunning Images of Earth’s Melting Ice]

Furthermore, “closer to the site of the ice loss – that is, right next to the thinning glaciers where we do not have any GPS sites – the Earth is likely to be rebounding significantly more than 15 millimeters [0.59 inches] per year,” lead study author Grace Nield, a geophysicist at Newcastle […]

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