Planet Earth

The Longest Canyon in the World is in Greenland


The grandest canyon in the world may not be the one you may have heard of. In 2013 researchers discovered a canyon in the world that was, in fact, over 50% longer than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. How did we not discover such a massive canyon until very recently? Simple. It was buried under a 2 km deep ice sheet in Greenland.

Tentatively named the “Grand Canyon of Greenland”, scientists from the university of Bristol have described the discovery as a mega-canyon. The canyon is more than 750  kilometers (466 miles) long, comparatively the Grand Canyon in Arizona is 446 kilometres (277 miles) long and no other canyon on earth comes close to its length.

Professor Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol stated that the distinctive V-shape form of the walls and the flat bottom of the canyon shows that it was carved by water and not ice. Evidence suggests that over 4 million years ago, before the presence of the massive ice sheet above the canyon, that it was a major river system for Greenland and transported water from the interior to the sea.

It was discovered in 2013 by NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge, they would send certain radio frequencies that could penetrate the ice but bounce off the bedrock underneath, and the time it took the signals to bounce back helped the researchers to map out the land buried miles beneath the ice.

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