Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Huge canyon found under Greenland ice

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Mapping
Huge canyon found under Greenland ice NASA
01 Oct
2013
A team of scientists has found evidence of an enormous, previously unknown canyon hidden under the Greenland ice

In a study published in Science, the scientists analysed thousands of kilometres of airborne radar data, collected over several decades, to piece together a map of the landscape lying beneath the Greenland ice sheet. The analysis revealed a continuous bedrock canyon that extends from almost the centre of the island and ends beneath the Petermann Glacier fjord in northern Greenland.

‘One might assume that the landscape of the Earth has been fully explored and mapped,’ said the study’s lead author, Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol. ‘Our research shows there’s still a lot left to discover.’

The canyon, which is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years, has the characteristics of a winding river channel. It’s at least 750 kilometres long, making it longer than the Grand Canyon, and in some places is as deep as 800 metres.

Evidence suggests that the canyon once comprised a major river system, with water flowing through it from the interior of Greenland to the coast. The researchers believe that it now plays an important role in transporting sub-glacial meltwater.

This story was published in the October 2013 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PLACES...

Mapping

A new, double-sided world map projection seeks to minimise the…

Water

 Water scarcity is predicted to rise – two experts share…

Mountains

New collaborative research from the University of Oxford and the…

Places

Conceived during the late 1800s, Letchworth Garden City was the…

Places

Multiple failed attempts to build on a patch of land…

Deserts

New 'deep learning' technology is helping to identify trees in…

Places

The land around the Kinabatangan River in the state of…

Places

Highlights from the column that keeps you connected with the…

Places

At the end of a perplexing and thought-provoking year, we…

Places

The city of Mosul is slowly putting itself back together…

Places

The story of a unique Italo-Slovenian community that came to…

Places

Bisecting Georgia's northwestern region, the Enguri River has come to…

Forests

A study in Northern Minnesota is experimentally heating the air…

Places

Some of the quirkiest geopolitical oddities are  Europe’s semi-independent microstates (SIMs). Vitali…

Places

Ninety years after depopulation, the Scottish islands of St Kilda…

Mapping

Not all passports are created equal

Forests

The impacts of deforestation are wide ranging. But while some…

Places

Community trekking is the latest development to emerge from the…

Cities

Scientists are using sophisticated data modelling to predict how cities…