Deepest land trench in the world is hidden under the ice of Antarctica

(ORDO NEWS) — If you were to ask what is the deepest trench on Earth, many would say that it is the Mariana Trench.

They would be right – at a depth of about 11,000 meters, the Mariana Trench dwarfs any other oceanic trench. But if you were to ask, “What is the deepest continental trench in the world?” few would be able to answer.

A recently discovered canyon under the Denman Glacier, hiding under a layer of ice in Antarctica, reaches 3.5 kilometers below sea level, making it the deepest land trench in the world.

The world’s deepest land trench

The depth of the depression was determined in 2019 as part of a study by an international team of glaciologists who intended to map the contours of the Antarctic continental landmass.

To look under the ice sheets of Antarctica, a team of scientists used ice thickness data from 19 different research institutes, combined with arrays of radar data. A similar technique was used to study Greenland.

As reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, the study resulted in the most accurate portrait of the contours of Antarctica, dubbed the BedMachine.

Scientists have also been able to obtain a range of previously unknown topological data about what lies beneath the ice of Antarctica.

“Older maps suggested a shallower canyon, but that was not possible. Something was missing,” said study lead author Prof Mathieu Morlighem of the University of California, Irvine.

Mapping the canyon helps geologists understand how ice sheets might respond to climate change and which areas of ice might be vulnerable.

Despite the fact that the land basin is deep, it is not considered the deepest place on Earth.


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