Scientists May Have Just Found The World’s Largest Canyon

There may be a secret landscape complete with a vast canyon hidden beneath the Antarctic ice sheet — and the canyon might just be the largest in the world.

An international team of researchers has discovered evidence in satellite data that this mysterious canyon might exist beneath Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica, publishing their findings in the current issue of the journal Geology.

Now, an airborne survey to take radar measurements of the subglacial landscape is underway to confirm the colossal canyon, which could be wider than the Grand Canyon in some places and may span more than 1,100 kilometers (683 miles) in length, Dr. Stewart Jamieson, a geography lecturer at Durham University in England and lead author of the research, told The Huffington Post.

The new data is expected to be released later this year.

“We are somewhat surprised that these features haven’t been mapped before, they are potentially very large after all,” Jamieson said.

In order to map out what they think may lie beneath Princess Elizabeth Land, the researchers analyzed satellite data of the ice surface. (Watch the video above, which describes their work.)

The researchers noticed very long, linear features buried beneath the ice, which they concluded may be evidence of a canyon system or valleys. They also found evidence that the canyon might be connected to a previously undiscovered subglacial lake, BBC News reported.

The researchers think that the canyon was probably carved out by water. It either is so ancient that it existed before the Antarctic ice sheet came to be, or it was created by water flowing beneath the ice and eroding buried rocks.

“To observe a massive canyon system is, of course, not what we —> Read More