"Greenland" by Túrelio / CC BY-SA 2.5

Mysterious ‘dark river’ may flow hundreds of miles beneath Greenland

Nov 17, 2020

By Peter Dockrill

A giant underground river fed by melting ice could be running in a state of perpetual darkness far below the surface of Greenland, according to new research.

Nicknamed the ‘Dark River’, this hypothetical waterway – if it truly exists, that is – may stretch for 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), flowing from the deep interior of Greenland all the way to Petermann Fjord in the country’s northwest.

“The results are consistent with a long subglacial river,” says ice sheet modeler Christopher Chambers from Hokkaido University in Japan, “but considerable uncertainty remains.”

That uncertainty largely stems from significant gaps in radar data from aerial surveys above the Greenland ice sheet, which have over the years detected fragmented glimpses of what looks like a giant, subglacial valley system extending below large parts of Greenland.

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