A Grand Canyon buried beneath the ice! (Yes, another one.)

Researchers have discovered a massive trench buried beneath the Antarctic ice -- a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon. It's so deep that, in spite of several miles of ice, it can be seen from space.

The news comes from British scientists, including researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Bristol, who mapped an area of the western Antarctic using "ice-penetrating radio-echo sounding and satellite imagery," according to a news release.

What they found was a mighty subglacial valley, plunging deeper than Arizona's Grand Canyon. Arizona's cavern reaches a little more than a mile at its deepest point while the ice-bound canyon is as deep as 1.8 miles (3 kilometers).

This isn't the first canyon to be found lurking beneath ice. Researchers in August revealed another Grand Canyon-sized chasm below Greenland's ice sheet. The Greenland canyon is not deeper than Arizona's natural wonder, but it's longer -- 460 miles, compared with 277.

Evidence shows that the Greenland chasm "predates the ice sheet by at least 1 million years," writes the L.A. Times' Geoffrey Mohan.  

As for the newly revealed Antarctic trench, researchers say, is "the site of ice sheet genesis in West Antarctica.”  The landscape, they say, provides information about how the ice sheet came about and grew.

And you knew global warming would play into this: "It also provides important clues about the size and shape of the ice sheet in West Antarctica in a warmer global climate."

The paper on the discovery was published in the January issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

Wishing you could look at the Antarctic chasm from space? Follow me @AmyTheHub


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