A river longer than England’s Thames flows beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, draining an area the size of France and Germany combined, new research reveals.
This under-ice river was discovered using ice-penetrating radar mounted on aircraft. In a series of aerial surveys, researchers discovered a river system snaking 285 miles (460 kilometers) and draining into the Weddell Sea.
“When we first discovered lakes beneath the Antarctic ice a couple of decades ago, we thought they were isolated from each other,” study co-author Martin Siegert, a glaciologist at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, said in a statement. “Now we are starting to understand there are whole systems down there, interconnected by vast river networks, just as they might be if there weren’t thousands of meters of ice on top of them.”
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