July 26. British scientists have discovered a gigantic rift valley beneath glaciers in western Antarctica. Their findings were published Wednesday in the scientific journal "Neychur» / Nature /. Experts believe that the fault depth of 1.6 km, and the size of the U.S. Grand Canyon may be related to high rates of ice melt in the region.
Depression in the earth's crust is located under a glacier Ferrigno, which stretches for 28 km to the Gulf of Eltanin in the Bellingshausen Sea in West Antarctica. The discovery was made by scientists using radar that can penetrate through the ice at a distance of about 2.5 thousand km. The region prior to this study explorers visited only once — in 1961.
"We found that under the ice layer has a large valley — said the lead researcher of the project Professor, University of Aberdeen, Robert Bingham. — It is particularly important that the / detection / fault that coincides perfectly with the data on the reduction of the thickness of the ice surface. The melting of the ice we have seen over the area from satellites over the past 20 years. "
The findings of scientists suggest that the ice-filled rift valley is connected to the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. In this case, it is in the western part of the continent, where the rift is now celebrated most rapid ice melt in comparison with the other regions. In particular, the thickness of some glacial year reduced by more than a meter.
"The newly discovered Ferrigno Valley is part of a huge, but so far little studied rift system that lies beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet — explained co-author of a research project Faust Feracholi from the British Antarctic Survey. — This study shows that this ancient rift basin, and other / faults / found beneath the ice and connected to the heat-producing ocean, may influence the present movement of the ice and exacerbate their decline. "
According to scientists, the melting of glaciers and ice shelves in the period from 2003 to 2010, global sea level rose by 1.5 mm.