Press Esc to close
Sunday 02 October 2016
News updated at 2:29 AM IST
Weather
Max: 29.7°C
Min : 20.5°C
In Bengaluru
Generally cloudy

'Mega-canyon' discovered under Greenland ice

London, Aug 31, 2013 (PTI):
Helicopter is taking off Greenland ice sheet. Wikipedia image

A massive 'canyon' hidden beneath Greenland ice - at least 750 kilometres long and 800 meters deep - has been discovered by scientists.

The previously unknown 'canyon' rivals the Grand Canyon in Arizona, US and is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years.

The remarkable chasm in the Earth has the characteristics of a meandering river channel - by comparison, the longest river in the UK, the River Severn, is about 350km long and much less wide and deep.

"With Google Streetview available for many cities around the world and digital maps for everything from population density to happiness one might assume that the landscape of the Earth has been fully explored and mapped. Our research shows there's still a lot left to discover," Professor Jonathan Bamber of University of Bristol's School of Geographical Sciences, lead author of the study, said.

The scientists used thousands of kilometres of airborne radar data, collected mainly by NASA and researchers from the UK and Germany over several decades, to piece together the landscape lying beneath the ice sheet that covers most of Greenland and obscures it from view.

At certain frequencies, ice is transparent to radio waves which can travel through the ice and bounce off the bedrock underneath, researchers said.

By analysing all the radar data in a consistent way the team discovered a continuous bedrock canyon that extends from almost the centre of the island and ends at its northern extremity in a deep fjord connecting to the Arctic ocean.

They believe the canyon plays an important role in transporting sub-glacial melt-water produced at the bed from the interior to the edge of the ice sheet and ultimately into the ocean.

Even before the presence of the ice sheet, going back at least four million years, the evidence suggests the canyon provided a pathway for water from the interior to the coast and was a major fluvial system.

"A 750km canyon preserved under the ice for millions of years is a breathtaking find in itself, but this research is also important in furthering our understanding of Greenland's past.

"This area's ice sheet contributes to sea level rise and this work can help us put current changes in context," Professor David Vaughan, ice2sea co-ordinator based at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge said. The research was published in journal Science.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Paralympian Deepa Malik shows her Paralympic medal during inaugural ceremony of Dasara Sports...

Paralympian Deepa Malik shows her Paralympic medal during inaugural ceremony of Dasara Sports...

A view of the Mysuru Palace during the inaugural function of the Dasara cultural programmes...

A view of the Mysuru Palace during the inaugural function of the Dasara cultural programmes...

An India Air Force paratrooper displays his skills during Air Fest 2016 as a part of Air Force...

An India Air Force paratrooper displays his skills during Air Fest 2016 as a part of Air Force...

Narendra Modi with Union Sport Minister Vijay Goyal, Praful Patel, President All India Football...

Narendra Modi with Union Sport Minister Vijay Goyal, Praful Patel, President All India Football...

Tourists watch a one horned rhino with her calf as they cool off, during a elephant safari...

Tourists watch a one horned rhino with her calf as they cool off, during a elephant safari...

Special Flight service 'Akasha Ambari' which is inaugurated and opened to public, Dasara...

Special Flight service 'Akasha Ambari' which is inaugurated and opened to public, Dasara...

Mysuru Royal Scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar's private dusbar, as part of Dasara...

Mysuru Royal Scion Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar's private dusbar, as part of Dasara...

Women perform Kalash Yatra to Vaisnovdevi Temple to mark the festival of Navratri in Surat...

Women perform Kalash Yatra to Vaisnovdevi Temple to mark the festival of Navratri in Surat...

Pigeon and Parrot are seen at Cubbon park in Bengaluru...

Pigeon and Parrot are seen at Cubbon park in Bengaluru...

Siddaramaiah inaugurates flight service 'Akasha Ambari' from Bengaluru to Mysore...

Siddaramaiah inaugurates flight service 'Akasha Ambari' from Bengaluru to Mysore...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523