Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web

The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Antarctica's Grand Canyons

Antarctica's Grand Canyons

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, January 13, 2016/Categories: natural history, space science, environment

       Antarctica Landforms, Lakes, and Canyons Revealed when Ice is Removed (credit: NSF)

Canyons under the Antarctic ice cap have been discovered by geographers  at Durham University in the UK that are longer and deeper than Arizona's Grand Canyon. The research required NASA satellite and radar scanning to helpmap the unknown canyon system that is more than 600 miles long and nearly 1 mile deep, comparable to the Grand Canyon in depth but many times longer.

Publishing in Geology, the researchers say the canyon system consists of a chain of winding and linear features buried under nearly 2 miles of ice in one of the least explored regions of Antarctic: Princess Elizabeth Land. Few measurements of the ice thickness have been carried out in this area of the continent, which scientists call one of Antarctica’s two ‘Poles of Ignorance’.


                           Canyon System, Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica (credit: NASA MODIS)

It is probable that the canyon-scapes under the ice were carved by water so ancient that they were there before the ice sheet developed or were created by water flowing and eroding beneeth the ice cap. The canyons are invisible to the naked eye but their sub-glacial structure can be identified in the surface relief of the ice sheet.

The lead geographer explains some of the new canyon findings:



Number of views (1345)/Comments (0)

Please login or register to post comments.