Giant Canyon Discovered In Greenland

Longer than the Grand Canyon

    Photo: christine zenino/Flickr

Scientists researching climate change have inadvertently discovered one of the world's biggest canyons beneath the ice sheets of Greenland. Carved out by a river more than four million years ago, the hidden valley is 800 kilometers long and 800 meters deep, making it longer than Arizona's Grand Canyon.

“The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets hide a lot," professor David Vaughan from British Antarctic Survey told BBC News. "It’s pretty surprising to find this canyon. Greenland isn’t that big for a canyon of that size, and for it to survive in its pre-glacial form after successive glaciations is quite something.”

Meltwater from the canyon still runs out to the sea, and glaciologists believe it plays an important part in transporting sub-glacial meltwater to the ocean. The canyon has never been seen by humans, and researchers believe that there may be bacteria trapped below the ice.

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