The Antarctic Ice Sheet may be hiding the world’s largest canyon system | MNN


The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is hiding a very, very big secret.

Geologists finding out satellite tv for pc imagery of the distant Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica, one of many largest unsurveyed land surfaces on Earth, have found proof of an enormous subglacial canyon system buried beneath the ice.

Tipped off by the bodily hints, the staff of researchers utilized radio-echo sounding to tug again the white curtain and peer via the ice. What they discovered is an absolute monstrosity of geology, a canyon system believed to be greater than 685 miles lengthy and as a lot as zero.6 mile deep. In some locations, the measurements failed just because they have been too deep to be recorded. And there is extra:

“Linked to the canyons, a big subglacial lake might exist which may be the final remaining giant (extra then 62 miles in size) subglacial lake to be found in Antarctica,” the authors write in a paper published in Geology. It is estimated that this subglacial lake alone might cowl as a lot as 480 sq. miles.

The geologists consider the canyon system was seemingly carved out by water. As a result of it is so historic, nonetheless, it isn’t clear if it shaped earlier than or after it was entombed in ice.

“Discovering a big new chasm that dwarfs the Grand Canyon is a tantalising prospect,” examine co-author Professor Martin Siegert from the Grantham Institute at Imperial School London told IANS.
“Our worldwide collaboration of U.S., U.Okay., Indian, Australian and Chinese language scientists are pushing again the frontiers of discovery on Antarctica like nowhere else on Earth.”

Ought to the preliminary examine’s outcomes be verified, the Princess Elizabeth canyon system will take the title of largest ever found, dwarfing the Grand Canyon (277 miles) and stealing the crown from Greenland’s Grand Canyon (460 miles), itself buried below thick ice. A extra complete radio-echo sounding evaluation of the distant area is anticipated to be accomplished later this 12 months.

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