A little over three years ago, an enormous section of Antarctica’s Larsen Ice Shelf collapsed and splintered into thousands of icebergs. You’d think nothing positive would come out of this (except maybe a little awareness), but you’d be wrong.

Thanks to the collapse, researchers have discovered that an “expansive ecosystem of knee-high mud volcanoes, snowy microbial mats and flourishing clam communities lies beneath the collapsed Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica.”

This discovery, as reported by AP, was detailed this week in Eos, the weekly newspaper of the American Geophysical Union.

You can read the PDF here.

Sadly:

Now that the ecosystem has been exposed, it is imperiled by fattening deposits of sediment produced through erosion runoff from the advancing glaciers and from dying algae settling to the bottom. The sediment is not only burying the ecosystem, but it is also introducing carbon and other new chemicals into the methane-powered environment …

Sigh — yet another reason to prevent climate change.