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Massive Grand Canyon Found Beneath Antarctica

Massive Grand Canyon Found Beneath Antarctica

If you thought there was only one grand canyon on the planet, guess again.  Turns out there’s another canyon, similar in magnificence to the Grand Canyon in the United States, but it’s in Antarctica and its made entirely of rock, snow and ice.

Check out the video below to see for yourself:

Created by tectonic forces of continental rifting and named the Ferrigno Rift, this canyon, a byproduct of the melting Pine Island Glacier, is nearly a mile deep, about six miles across and is roughly 62 miles long. It’s also an indication of a massive block of ice that’s about to break off Antarctica’s continental landmass.

Robert Bingham, a glaciologist at the University of Aberdeen and his assistant Chris Griffiths discovered the so-called Ferrigno Rift back in 2009-2010 when embarking on a rather dangerous expedition to the western portion of Antarctica, a region practically untouched by humans.  Here, using radar equipment to measure the topography of the land, Bingham and Griffiths noticed a sudden, deep drop that spanned the length of the canyon as we now know it.

According to the two scientists, the glacier’s “march to the sea, and the overall effects could have implications for the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is responsible for 10 percent of global sea level rise that is currently happening.”

While landing on such a momentous and rare find is exhilarating, what Bingham and Griffiths found points to a much more dire situation that’s connected directly to a warming planet.  Antarctica is said to be losing ice mass at an accelerated rate and the Ferrigno Rift will only expedite this process, allowing warm ocean water deeper into the continent.

Similarly, Greenland made recent global headlines after losing 97 percent of its ice surface in only four days.

Related Stories:

46-Square Miles of Iceberg Break Off in Greenland (Video)

Sea Level Rise from Global Warming is Unstoppable, Say Scientists

Humans Cause 70 Percent of Loss of Arctic Sea Ice (Video)

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Photo Credit: Christof Berger

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134 comments

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11:27AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Soon to be open to tourist

7:52AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Wow!!

2:07AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

It is really alarming..

8:05PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Don't believe in Global Warming (caused by humans or not) - Read the book SIX DEGREES: OUR FUTURE ON A HOTTER PLANET by Mark Lynas, for an amazing scholarly work that synthesizes a massive amount of data from a WIDE variety of scientists that has been organized in 6 chapters: one for each degree Centigrade of global warming. Yes, we're already through Chapter 1. All of the sources of the data used are in peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals published over several decades. A decade long drought? "baby drought"; a century long drought? "beginner!" how about 1000+ years of drought in the southwest - now that's a "MEGA-drought". Why did Anasazis leave homes they had worked so hard to build? Why did they just walk away and leave every tool? Why was even food left behind in storage bins on high cliffs? They couldn't live without water. When the last source failed, they carried what little they could and kept walking until they found water again (a looong way from where they started). Read this book, give it to people in denial, head-in-the-sand types who think that if they do not believe in global warming, it cannot possibly exist. Put pressure on all political candidates to AT THE VERY LEAST follow the guidance of the Texas oilman T Boone Pickens, who said "put buses and semi-trucks on natural gas" We have plenty of it and it could make a big difference. How about requiring companies with more than 10 trucks to convert 10% of the fleet each year to natural gas? Perhap

7:48PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Fascinating, but scary stuff.

2:06PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

whether it's human caused or natural cycle - it's happening!

6:46PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

Very cool! :-)

3:08PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

Thank you for sharing. It's interesting.

3:08PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

Thank you for sharing. It's interesting.

1:05PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

Thanks for sharing. While very interesting, it makes one wonder what happens to the glaciers now.

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