There is a huge ancient lake bed hidden under the Greenland ice – BGR


  • Scientists have discovered a huge lake bed hidden deep beneath Greenland’s thick ice sheet.
  • The lake would have covered 2,700 square miles, although it’s hard to say how old the lake really is.
  • Sediment analysis would reveal the age of the lake, but it would take a lot of work to make it happen.

Greenland, despite its name, isn’t all that green. It’s actually covered in ice – this has always been the mind-blowing thing teachers loved to reveal when they told us that Greenland and Iceland are basically the opposite of what their names would suggest – and some of that ice is incredibly dense. Figuring out what might be hiding under that ice has been difficult for scientists, but new research suggests Greenland is hiding something big.

Using data from NASA’s IceBridge operation, the researchers were able to determine that there is a colossal lake bed that lies far below the thick Greenland ice sheet. The research was published in the journal Science letters of the earth and planets.

Multiple sources of data were used to make the discovery, with NASA’s IceBridge operation – which provides a three-dimensional representation of Arctic ice – helping to reveal the huge basin under the ice that was likely once a lake covering a ‘area of ​​about 2,700 square miles. It goes without saying that this is an absolutely massive area and such a large lake would have dominated the landscape before it was covered in thick ice.

“This could be an important repository of information, in a landscape that is totally hidden and inaccessible right now,” Guy Paxman, lead author of the work, said in a statement. “We are working to try to understand how the Greenland ice sheet has behaved in the past. It is important if we want to understand how it will behave in the decades to come. “

The find is big, but one very important thing is missing, and that’s an estimate of how old the lake bottom actually is. This is especially difficult because Greenland’s ice didn’t come a day and never moved. The ice sheet gradually took control of the earth, advancing to new areas, retreating at times and then rising again. This happens over tens of millions of years, so guessing when the lake was present is difficult.

Determining exactly when the lake was “alive”, so to speak, is indeed possible, but it will require a lot of work. According to the researchers, sediment at the bottom of the lake would help reveal its age and also offer clues as to when ice was present in the region and when it wasn’t. This would go a long way in explaining some of the quirks of Greenland’s geography that remains hidden under the mile-thick ice. There are no plans to actually try digging to get to the sediment, but now that scientists know the lake bed is there, it may not be long before someone decides to try.

Mike Wehner has been reporting on technology and video games for the past decade, covering the latest news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and the technology of the future. Most recently, Mike worked as a Tech Editor at The Daily Dot and appeared on USA Today,, and countless other websites and print media. His love of reportage is second only to his addiction to games.


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