Giant canyon discovered under Greenland ice sheet

When we all thought that all the mysteries of Earth have been unveiled, we stumble upon this discovery. Scientists have discovered a vast canyon, twice as long as the Grand Canyon.

Zee Media Bureau /Ritu Singh

When we all thought that all the mysteries of Earth have been unveiled, we stumble upon this discovery. A vast canyon, twice as long as the Grand Canyon has recently been discovered by the scientists. Data from a NASA airborne science mission reveals evidence of this huge canyon hidden under a mile of Greenland ice.

This canyon is at least 750 kilometres long, making it longer than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In some places, it is as deep as 2,600 feet (800 meters), on scale with segments of the Grand Canyon. This gigantic element is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years.

"One might assume that the landscape of the Earth has been fully explored and mapped," said Jonathan Bamber, professor of physical geography at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. But after this research, he says there is a lot to reveal.

This discovery was accidental as scientists researching the effects of climate change mapped landscape lying beneath the Greenland ice sheet using thousands of miles of airborne radar data.

NASA`s Operation Ice Bridge, an airborne science campaign that studies polar ice gave a lot of important data and statistics required for this research. The Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder ,one of Ice Bridge’s scientific instruments, proved useful as it has the ability to see through vast layers of ice to measure its thickness and the shape of bedrock.

While analysing the data , the team discovered a continuous bedrock canyon that extends from almost the centre of the island and ends beneath the Petermann Glacier fjord in northern Greenland.

At certain frequencies, radio waves can travel through the ice and bounce off the bedrock underneath. The amount of times the radio waves took to bounce back helped researchers determine the depth of the canyon. The longer it took, the deeper the bedrock feature.

According to the researchers, the canyon plays an important role in transporting sub-glacial meltwater from the interior of Greenland to the edge of the ice sheet into the ocean.

This event has left the scientists all over the world in awe that a discovery of such scope can still be made on Earth.

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