(ORDO NEWS) — Under the ice of Antarctica is the largest canyon on the planet. Its length is about a thousand kilometers, the depth of some sections is about a kilometer.
The discovery was made by an international team of geologists from the UK, USA, Australia and China based on the results of studying satellite images.
After that, GPR was carried out: a geophysical method based on the emission of pulses of electromagnetic waves and the registration of signals reflected from various objects of the probed environment. The results of the study are published in the journal Geology.
The name of the canyon, about a thousand kilometers long and up to a kilometer deep, has not yet been invented. It is located in East Antarctica on Princess Elizabeth Land and appears to have been pierced into the soil by water long before the Antarctic ice sheet grew.
Ground-penetrating radar has also made it possible to discover a 1,250-square-kilometer subglacial lake, with which a canyon may be connected.
“It is amazing how such large-scale objects are discovered only now. In fact, we know less about the topography of Antarctica than about the surface of Mars, ”says lead author Stewart Jamieson of the British University of Durham. The new information will provide a better understanding of how the ice sheet is responding to climate change.
Until now, the longest canyon on Earth was considered to be a subglacial object in Greenland with a length of 750 kilometers. And the famous Grand Canyon in the United States, with which similar geological formations are usually compared, reaches a length of only 445 kilometers.
At the same time, the new discovery is not yet official: it is planned to confirm the existence of a giant Antarctic canyon and its connection with the subglacial lake at the end of 2016 using ground-penetrating radar of larger areas of Antarctica.
Contact us: [email protected]