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Published:September 1st, 2013 23:36 EST
NASA Finds Hidden Mega Canyon in the Depths of Greenland Ice Sheet

NASA Finds Hidden Mega Canyon in the Depths of Greenland Ice Sheet

By Ron G Anselm

As science roams every nook and cranny of Earth like Barnie Fife roamed each block of Main Street on the old hit series the Andy Griffith show, you can bet your sweet bibby that there will be and still are amazing and wondrous things out there that are still waiting to be found in the lenses or sites of NASA`s elite research teams.

NASA`s Airborne Science Mission became the elite research team and discovered there is still lots more to Greenland than just snuggly while polar bears and landscapes of frozen water when they discovered evidence of a large and previously unknown canyon hiding under all that solid mound of Greenland frozen tundra.

Compared to the infamous Grand Canyon that sits within the Southwest like a paralyzed cactus, Greenland mysterious hidden Grand Canyon looks to be around 460 miles long making it larger and longer than the Arizona Grand Canyon.

In some of the places Greenland`s Grand Canyon has a lot of the same characteristics as the Arizona Grand Canyon and one of those characteristics is that Greenland canyon is around 2,600 feet deep which is around the same as our Grand Canyon is.

Jonathan Bamber, professor of physical geography at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and lead author of the study commented on this by stating, "One might assume that the landscape of the Earth has been fully explored and mapped. Our research shows there`s still a lot left to discover." (Bamber, J.)

This discovery was not something that just suddenly happened over night, NASA collected airborne radar data over several decades to finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together and discover there really is a large Grand Canyon lurking in the shallows of the ice under Greenland`s landscape.

One of the main tools that helped with this discovery was NASA`s Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder which helps scientists to see through cast layers of ice and helps them measure the thickness of the ice as-well as the shape of the bedrock below.

  The analysis of this discovery consisted of the finding of a continuous bedrock canyon that extends from just about the center of Greenland to beneath what is known as Peterman`s Glacier in Greenland Northern ice sheet.

Scientists were able to use an instrument that use radio waves to measure depth. At certain frequencies the radio waves traveled through the ice and bounced off the bedrock underneath the ice sheet. The amount of time is takes the radio wave to hit the bedrock underneath and bounce back told scientist the depth of the canyon.

Michael Studinger who is an Ice Bridge project scientist at NASA`s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, "Two things helped lead to this discovery, It was the enormous amount of data collected by Ice Bridge and the work of combining it with other datasets into a Greenland-wide compilation of all existing data that makes this feature appear in front of our eyes." (Studinger, M.)

Scientists believe that the canyon plays a role in transporting sub-glacier melt water which comes from the interior of Greenland to the edge of the ice and into the ocean. They also believe that as much as four-million years ago, water more than likely flowed in the canyon from the interior of Greenland to the coast and was more than likely a major river system.

Michael Studinger continued to comment on this by saying, "It is quite remarkable that a channel the size of the Grand Canyon is discovered in the 21st century below the Greenland ice sheet. It shows how little we still know about the bedrock below large continental ice sheets."(Studinger, M.)

So as the memory of Barnie Fife patrolling main street with a hat that was three sizes too big and a gun belt that was larger than his hips in hit sitcoms like the Andy Griffith show, NASA continues to patrol this large planet as if they too were cops in a wondrous valley of the unknown of things waiting to be discovered and that paralyzes your mind in thought as you awe at what is really out there that too is as elusive as trying to guess the winning lottery numbers in a Mega-Millions lotto of riches.

                                                                              Reference

NASA Data Reveals Mega-Canyon under Greenland Ice Sheet. (http://www.nasa.gov/icebridge) Retrieved 2013.

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