Discovery of a huge valley in western Antarctica

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British scientists discovered a valley beneath the ice in West Antarctica.

Researchers say the rift valley, located beneath the ice stream Ferrigno-could have more than 1.5 km deep (almost as big as the Grand Canyon).

In a study published in the journal Nature , scientists at the University of Aberdeen and the British Antarctic Survey said the valley is connected with the ocean and that this could be contributing to the loss of ice in the region.

Over 1,500 meters of elevation hidden under a huge sheet of ice.Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have found a deep valley in West Antarctica as deep as the Grand Canyon .

The discovery was made under the current ice Ferrigno , in a region considered remote even by Antarctic standardsBefore the visit of scientists from BAS, only after he had gone half a century ago. Ice streams are frozen regions moving faster than those around them. The most typical case is that of the glacier tongues.

According to scientists, who published his work in the journal Nature, the valley beneath the ice is connected to the sea . The ocean passes through this heat potential inland, and favors the melting ice. Since this is the region of Antarctica that more ice lost each year, and she alone is responsible for the 10% increase in ocean levels – understanding their geomorphology is vital evidence.

Melting ice

“During the past 20 years we have used satellites to monitor the loss of Antarctic ice . And we have witnessed a deterioration in the virtually all of its coast, “says Robert Bingham , a glaciologist and co-author. “In some glaciers, including ice current Ferrigno, this loss has been especially pronounced. To understand the reasons we needed to know what lay beneath the icy surface. “

“The important thing is that this spectacular valley block to perfection down to the records of ice surface which was recorded by the satellite measurements , “Bingham stresses.

In carrying out geomorphological analysis of the area, researchers dragged a radar-capable of crossing the ice with a snowmobile along over 2,500 km . The whole area has a relatively flat surface, which helped the task. Under the frozen plain, another rocky plateau crossed by the steep valley of more than 1,500 meters deep. “If you could remove all the ice in there, you would see something as big as the African tectonic valley and deep as prominent as the Grand Canyon,” says Bingham.

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