A canyon longer than Grand Canyon has been discovered under the ice of Greenland. Scientists are surprised that it has persisted through the ice ages.
Science Magazine announced the discovery of a giant “mega-canyon” in bedrock under Greenland’s ice pack by airborne radar in NASA’s Operation IceBridge. The BBC News includes a radar map of the canyon, and a video explaining the significance of the never-before-seen feature.
It’s less than half as deep as the Grand Canyon (800 m) but over twice as long (800 km), and comparably wide. Live Science is calling it the “world’s longest canyon.” It flows from the center of the island northward to the sea, entering the sea below sea level. National Geographic also reported the discovery.
When did it form? Geologists believe it is “paleofluvial,” meaning it formed as a river system before the ice sheets covered the surface. But that creates a mystery; why didn’t glaciers smooth it out and obliterate it? “Indeed, none of the profiles are typical of glacially eroded valleys,” the paper states. “…The canyon follows a meandering path more typical of a large river system.”
From the BBC article:
Prof David Vaughan from British Antarctic Survey (Bas) told BBC News: “The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets hide a lot. It’s pretty surprising to find this canyon. Greenland isn’t that big for a canyon of that size, and for it to survive in its pre-glacial form after successive glaciations is quite something.”
The discovery was a “jaw-dropping experience” to the Operation IceBridge team. Science Daily quoted a geologist saying, “It shows how little we still know about the bedrock below large continental ice sheets.”
This canyon should be examined by creation geologists not beholden to millions of years. That a fresh-looking canyon in bedrock has not been eroded into a glaciated valley by huge amounts of overlying ice may point to problems with long age beliefs and the secular scheme of multiple ice ages (instead, there was just one ice age relatively recent and short). That a canyon this size exists on a relatively small continent may provide evidence for catastrophic flood geology. If nothing else, the discovery was unexpected by secular geologists, and points out how little is known about features under the ice in Greenland and Antarctica. We still live in an age of discovery.