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Scientists find mountain ranges and vast canyons under South Pole

Called Foundation Trough, this frozen highway is longer than the distance between London and Manchester.

Its peers, Patuxent Trough and Offset Rift basin, are both slightly smaller in size.

The Patuxent Trough measures over nine miles (15 km) wide and runs for some 185 miles (300 km), while the Offset Rift basin is 18 miles (30 km) wide and runs 93 miles (150 km) beneath the ice shelf.

The three gorges lie between mountain ranges known as the Whitmore Mountains and the Transantarctic Mountains.

The mountains reach a maximum elevation of 8.000ft (2500m) above sea level, which is almost twice the height of Ben Nevis.

It is believed these mountain ranges will help slow the melting of the Antarctic should global temperatures continue to rise, with the ridges acting as a plug and forming a bottleneck of ice.

All of this is invisible to the naked eye and is happening below the surface of the continent.

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