What Lies Beneath: Giant Trench Under Antarctic Ice, Deeper Than Grand Canyon

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What Lies Beneath: Giant Trench Under Antarctic Ice, Deeper Than Grand Canyon

A massive ancient subglacial trough — deeper than the Grand Canyon — has been discovered by a team of UK experts.

The research involved scientists from Newcastle University, the University of Bristol’s Glaciology Centre, the British Antarctic Survey and the universities of Edinburgh, Exeter, and York. They charted the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands — an ancient mountain range buried beneath several kilometres of Antarctic ice — by combining data from satellites and ice-penetrating radars towed behind snowmobiles and on-board small aircraft.

The researchers spent three seasons investigating and mapping the region in West Antarctica, uncovering a massive subglacial valley up to 3 kilometres deep, more than 300 kilometres long and up to 25 kilometres across. In places, the floor of this valley is more than 2000 metres below sea level.

The mountain range and deep valley were carved millions…

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