The Deepest Canyon On Earth

Alexis Bitnar, Fresh Face Editor

The deepest point on continental Earth has been identified in East Antarctica, under Denman Glacier. According to a new map by White Continent, it reveals the shape of bedrock under an ice sheet on the glacier. It’s recorded to be deeper than the Dead Sea, in Asia, which is 997 ft deep at the deepest point.  No people have been inside it yet, but they do have detailed videos using radar instruments which uses crisscross technology that sends down microwave pulses to peer through the ice and trace the underlying rock topography.

It’s also compared to the deepest point in the ocean which is 11km below the sea surface and the glacier’s deep point is 3,500m below sea level.

The Sun

Dr. Morlighem’s, Associate Professor of Earth System Science at UCI, solution has been to use some physics – mass conservation – to plug these holes. Because of how much ice is entering the narrow valley and how fast it’s moving, the volume of that ice can be worked out, giving an insight into the depth and roughness of the hidden valley floor. “Glaciers that flow on beds that deepen inland are unstable, and so the glacier will potentially have to retreat all the way until the bed rises again, leading to significant sea-level rise. It could be one of the most vulnerable sectors of East Antarctica, which holds significantly more ice than West Antarctica,” Morlighem said as to how climate change is affecting this glacier.