Category Archives: Geography

STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE PETITION

KEYSTONE PIPELINE

A brief excerpt from Avaaz.com taken from an e-mail received 03.06.14

Right now, the US government is about to make the defining climate decision of Obama’s presidency - whether to approve a monstrous pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada across the US.

If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies… but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been called “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”. Bold public action has delayed it once, and a court ruling last week has dealt a serious blow to the project. Now, if we act fast and in massive numbers, we can help kill it for good.

Please sign the petition here -
http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_keystone_xl_pipeline_loc/?blTFScb&v=36936

I really feel confident that you will not hesitate to sign this petition before it is too late once you’ve read the Huffingtion Post article below:

STOP PIPELINE COLLAGE SIGN

The following article “10 Reasons to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline” is taken from Huffington Post ‘The Blog’ posted on
02/18/2014  by Rose Ann DeMoro – Executive director, National Nurses United (AFL-CIO) and California Nurses Association.

With the clock ticking down on a final decision by the Obama administration on Keystone XL, it’s a good time to summarize reasons to oppose a project that looks more like a pathway to pollution than a gateway to our gas pumps.

Citing the threat to public health and how the project would hasten the climate crisis, nurses have been on the front line of protests against Keystone, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, largely for export.

Here’s 10 reasons why:

1. No jobs on a dead planet
More jobs are certainly needed, but even the just concluded State Department assessment conceded Keystone would support only 35 post-construction jobs.

Infrastructure repair and promoting a green economy is a far better solution for the jobs crisis than a project that NASA scientist and climate expert James Hanson famously calls “game over” on the climate front.

If the threshold issue is jobs, nurses should support the pipeline as a full employment act in the volume of additional patients sickened by the pipeline’s health hazards and toll from accelerated climate change. But nurses see an inseparable link between environmental justice and the health of our communities and planet.

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2. Don’t drink the water…
From the ground to the pipe to the refineries, Keystone’s tar sands oil, with its thick, dirty, corrosive properties, pose a far greater hazard than conventional oil — a major reason for National Nurses United and nurse opposition.

Toxic contaminants in the massive water needed for extraction are infecting clean water supplies with towns nearby Alberta experiencing spikes in cancer deaths, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Huge pipeline spills near Marshall, Mi. and Mayflower, Ar. have led to respiratory ailments and other health ills. Pollutants from tar sands refineries are linked to heart and lung disease, asthma, and cancer.

3. And don’t breathe the air
Mounds of Petcoke, the carbon residue of tar sands refining, piled up for export for burning, have produced toxic dust storms that have left area residents gasping near Detroit, Chicago, and other locales. Canadian scientists are also alarmed at mercury “wafting” into the air from tar sands production which, in chronic exposure, have been linked to brain damage.

4. An asthma nation
Nurses see an explosion of asthma sufferers, especially children. More than 40 percent of Americans now live in areas slammed by air pollution with levels of particle pollution that can also cause higher incidents of heart attacks and premature death.

Keystone will multiply carbon emissions and speed up climate change resulting in more polluted air, higher air temperatures which can also increase bacteria-related food poisoning, such as salmonella, and animal-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.

5. The gathering storms
In the last year alone, we’ve seen the worst cyclone ever to hit landfall, fueled by sub-surface ocean temperatures 9 degrees above normal, the largest tornado ever recorded, record droughts, and other unprecedented weather anomalies. While some discount the link to climate change, there’s no dispute that the past decade was the hottest on record.

Nurses, as volunteers with National Nurses United’s RNRN project can attest, treat the human collateral damage, thousands of patients affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, for example, who endured life threatening injuries and loss of their homes and livelihoods.

6. The carbon bomb
All workers and their families live in the same communities affected by the climate crisis and the pipeline health hazards. Despite naysayers who insist there is no environmental justification to block it, there is as much scientific consensus on Keystone as there is on the human hand behind the climate crisis, or the factual evidence of evolution.

In addition to Hanson, who calls Keystone “the biggest carbon bomb on the planet,” dozens of other prominent scientists signed a 2013 letter stating “the actual and potential environmental damage (are) sufficiently severe to reject Keystone to protect the climate, human health, and the multiple ecosystems this project threatens.”

In simple terms, Keystone would generate the carbon emission equivalent of 40 million more cars or 50 coal-fired power plants every year.
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7. Not headed to your gas pump
Contrary to the myth, Keystone would contribute little to U.S. energy independence. The oil is headed to Texas ports for a reason — to be shipped overseas. TransCanada, the corporation behind Keystone, balked at a Congressional proposal to condition approval on keeping the refined oil in the U.S., and reports say TransCanada already has contracts to sell much of the oil to foreign buyers.

8. Pipeline or bust for the tar sands industry
Proponents insist that if Keystone is blocked, the tar sands crude will just be shipped by rail. Many disagree, among them a pro-pipeline Canadian think tank that predicts without Keystone, “investment and expansion will grind to a halt,” a view shared by the International Energy Agency, Goldman Sachs and some oil executives. Increasingly, it appears, the pipeline is the linchpin for tar sands development.
9. Which side are you on?
In one corner, the American Petroleum Institute, the oil billionaire Koch Brothers, other fossil fuel giants, the far right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and politicians they influence — the same folks behind the attacks on unions, worker rights and health care and social justice reforms.

Standing with NNU in opposition are every major environmental group, farmers, ranchers and community leaders along the pipeline pathway, First Nations leaders, most Canadian unions, and U.S. transit unions.

10. A last word, from Robert Redford
“The more people learn about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the less they like it,” says actor/environmentalist Redford. “Tar sands crude means a dirtier, more dangerous future for our children all so that the oil industry can reach the higher prices of overseas markets. This dirty energy project is all risk and no reward for the American people.”

PLEASE SIGN PETITION

Article link ~
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rose-ann-demoro/10-reasons-to-oppose-the-_1_b_4791713.html

Wolves change the course of rivers – Remarkable video!

WOLVES

The following excerpts are from ‘How Exactly Wolves Change the Course of Rivers’ by Ray Molina of yourdailymedia.com Mar. 1, 2014

…Trophic cascade is when the behavior of top predators have a trickling down effect on their environment. Let’s call these predators the “one percent.”
WOLVES LARGE ANIMALS
The one percent may be vicious killing machines who think only of themselves, but even bad intentions could have good outcomes. We are finding out that their murderous ways can be useful in controlling the over population of herbivores that are eating more than their fair share, which leaves little for a multitude of other animals lower on the food chain.
WOLVES WATER MAMMALS
Eventually there will be plenty of wolves, perhaps even too many, and at some point we may need to protect the rest of the food chain from these top predators.
WOLVES WATER BIRDS
But like most things, if not everything, there’s a time and a place.
WOLVES WATERFALLS
I do wonder about whether or not the Ecosystems would have just found a new way to balance themselves out over time. Who knows how long that might have taken though, or maybe it’s currently happening in ways we cannot yet witness.
WOLVES SCENES
The main culprit of our Eco failures is you and me through our destruction of habitats through land-developing and hunting and pollution. We really blew it, and now we’re trying to cut our losses by celebrating animals that repair our mistakes.

In the video below, Author/Activist George Monbiot describes to an audience at TED the effects of Wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid 90′s.
He describes how the wolves, in a relatively short period of time, have transformed the landscape and allowed more varieties of life to flourish. And wolves did it in ways we never expected.
It’s a humbling reminder of just how connected life on this planet really is.

The original TED talk by George Monbiot, gives numerous examples of how “rewilding” our ecosystem can give us back the earth our predecessors had the privilege of experiencing.

NOTE: There are “elk” pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to “deer.” This is because the narrator is British and the British word for “elk” is “red deer” or “deer” for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

Narration from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot. Watch the full talk, here: http://bit.ly/N3m62h

Article link – http://www.yourdailymedia.com/post/how-exactly-do-wolves-change-rivers

OMG! My heart just jumped up to my throat!

BALLOON HIGHLINE

Hold on to your your favorite squeeze and/or whatever furniture you can grab and you might also want to take your heart medicine if necessary – you’re not going to believe this!
O.k. so my collage above is not what you’d expect for this post’s topic, but I didn’t want to give away the secret too soon!)

“You won’t get much closer to Skylining than this!…
We left winter behind and headed to the sun to try and turn our latest dream into reality…

All of the Skyliners team was excited to put their skills to the test on such an amazing line…
BALLOON HIGHLINE2
Thanks to the talent of the pilots, we came really close…
We’ll be going back again very soon to make it happen – watch this space!”

Youtube video, “The Balloon Highline” published on Feb 6, 2014 

Published on Feb 7, 2014 Globus Kon Tiki s’ajunta amb Skyliners per assolir un nou repte: passar per una cinta (Slack Line), d’un globus a un altre des de una alçada de 600 metres. L’event va tenir lloc a la comarca de la Noguera a Catalunya el 31 de gener de 2014. Translation: Globus Kon Tiki meets Skyliners to achieve a new challenge: to spend a tape (Slack Line), a balloon one other from from a height of 600 meters. The event took place in the region of Catalonia in Walnut January 31, 2014

O.K. Now breathe………….
Ah-h-h – this is more my style – magnificent and breathtaking panoramic videography,  colourful balloons, and gentle calming music – Enjoy! ~ 
Youtube video, “Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey”, published on 5 Nov 2013 by GaborVids ~

Support our team by watching our feature documentaryhttps://www.reelhouse.org/seb.montaz/…

http://www.facebook.com/theSkyliners
http://www.globuskontiki.com
http://www.sebmontaz.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTTAWA RIVER KEEPER ~ IMPRESSIVE VIDEO

OTTAWA RIVER

The following video, “Ottawa River Keeper”, was uploaded on Mar. 10, 2008, by Lu Utronki.  This video is designed to bring awareness to the importance of the Ottawa River for sustainability. 

The Ottawa River flows through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario for over 1200 kilometres.  There are almost 2 million people who live throughout the Ottawa River watershed.  To the Algonquin First Nations who lived by its banks and traveled by canoe the river was known as the Kitchi-sippi, meaning “The Great River“.  Visitors such as white water paddlers, fishing enthusiasts and river trippers from around the world looking for a wilderness experience  enjoy the Ottawa River year round.  The Ottawa River is a globally significant river and is part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence watershed, and is the largest freshwater system in the entire world.

Hope to see you back here for our next blog featuring “Ottawa River Keeper Part 2″ and “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River” – a Youtube video published this year on September 14th.

GREEPEACE MEMBERS JAILED IN RUSSIA ~ PLEASE HELP!

GREENPEACE CREW JAILED

ARCTICAna Paula and 29 of her Greenpeace crewmates are trapped in a Russian jail for trying to save the Arctic from oil drilling. But our community could set them free if we help Greenpeace build a massive global outcry targeting Russia’s biggest global partners.

AVAAZLet’s reach 1 million to free the Arctic 30 — sign now by clicking below to add your name to this global petition:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/free_the_arctic_30_loc/?blTFScb&v=30369

The following Youtube videos provide additional background information on Greenpeace members charged with piracy and jailed in Russia.

Published on Oct 5, 2013 by Real World News, “Russia charges Greenpeace crew with piracy” – Russian investigators have charged the entire 30-member crew of a Greenpeace ship with piracy for a protest at an oil platform in the Arctic. The charge, which carries a 15-year prison term, was filed on Thursday against 16 members of the crew, including a prominent Russian freelance photographer.

Published on Oct 5, 2013 by News World, “Greenpeace protests worldwide for release of activists held in Russia”, - From Hong Kong’s harbour to London and Toronto, supporters of Captain Pete Wilcox and his crew of imprisoned Greenpeace activists are sending a message to Russia today: “Free the Arctic 30.”

Stop Oil Tanker Traffic in B.C.

BC OIL TANKER TRAFFIC
Just ONE Exxon-Valdez-like spill on British Columbia’s coast could devastate thousands of families and a spectacular diversity of life. We shouldn’t take that risk!

Aren’t you tired of Big Oil targeting populated areas with rich flora and fauna and delicate environments as the next hot place to traffic oil? I sure am. It’s almost like they’re targeting areas of the world with the most to lose from an oil spill!

OIL COLLAGE

Send a message to Canada’s and British Columbia’s governments: Don’t traffic oil along B.C.’s coast!

Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, and CN Rail are all chomping at the bit to expand crude oil tanker traffic through B.C.’s coast en route to Asia. It would put a number of salmon rivers – as well as the thousands of people, cultures, and livelihoods that depend on B.C.’s coast – at risk for an oil spill, an event that could devastate the area.

First Nation communities are banning these projects with the Coastal First Nations and Save the Fraser declarations. Let’s unite with these strong efforts and stand up against oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast!

Please sign the petition by clicking the link below ~

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/333/333/751/?z00m=20630007

OKANAGAN BASIN – GAME ABOUT DROUGHT

IMAGE WITH SUN

This article, The Name of the Game is Drought, appeared in the July/Aug. issue of WaterCanada.
The Okanagan Basin Water Board engages regional stakeholders in a tournament of thirst, by Kerry Freek

FACING DROUGHT IS A GROWING NECESSITY

DROUGHT

In the United States, drought ranks second or third of natural disasters, depending on the year, in terms of economic impact. In Canada, dry periods—especially in the western provinces—are becoming more frequent and prolonged. It’s not news that severe water scarcity can devastate unprepared communities. But when people, nature, and economic activities share a watershed’s resources, how should local governments determine a pecking order in the event of an emergency? More importantly, how do they begin the tough process of creating emergency plans in advance?
The answer, some might say, is to make it fun, but keep it meaningful.

DROUGHT1

This past fall, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) kick-started the drought conversation in its region. In partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the B.C. Ministry of Environment, the organization brought together key players in government, as well as regional water suppliers, and reps from the agriculture, fisheries, and ranching communities to participate in a game about municipal thirst.
As part of the exercise, participants were divided into teams, given a drought scenario, and asked to identify and work through some of the issues anticipated with a drought, such as water reservoir management, the need for water for food production, and water for fish. The teams were given options for managing their water supply, and referees and other teams scored their decisions. Finally, the decisions were entered into a sophisticated computer program, known as the water evaluation and planning tool. With output from this tool, participants could understand and assess how their decisions would play out in a multi-year drought.
Teams quickly learned that any choice would impact water supply land, depending on how the scenarios were managed, they could increase or reduce conflict within the community. They also learned success comes down to collaboration, says Nelson Jatel of OBWB. “In these situations, it’s critical to communicate clearly and work together. The game allowed us to think through some of the complex partnerships that are key to surviving a drought.”
Gaming is gaining in popularity, and is beginning to be seen as a way to work through potential conflicts in the real world. “When we play a game, we tackle tough challenges with more creativity, more determination, more optimism, and we’re more likely to reach out to others for help,” says game designer Jane McGonigal in her June 2012 TED talk video - 

Osooyoos Mayor Stu Wells, who participated in the Okanagan game, believes drought in the region is a matter of when, not if. “To ensure the most positive outcomes, we need to know where the need for water is going to be, and what the consequences and trade offs of our decisions will be. “Our town has a drought management plan, but after this tournament, we need to review it and look at providing more incentives for water conservation. We want to prepare to be as resilient as possible.” The game has continued to improve. AAFC says it is working on a tool kit so people in other Canadian regions—and beyond—can run their own versions and have a bit of fun in the process.

WATER BROTHERS BACK FOR 2ND SEASON! – TVO

 WATER BROTHERS1

Beach brothers back in the water for second season on TVO

This article, by Jon Muldoon, appeared in Beach Metro Community News, September 10, 2013
 

Alex and Tyler Mifflin star in The Water Brothers, which launches its second season September 10 on TVO. Photo courtesy TVOAlex and Tyler Mifflin star in The Water Brothers, which launches its second season September 10 on TVO. Photo courtesy TVO

Beachers Alex and Tyler Mifflin care mostly about three things – one is oxygen, and the other two are hydrogen. The Water Brothers, as the siblings are more widely known, are proud to launch the second season of their eponymous television show tonight, Sept. 10, on TVO.
The brothers sat down last week to talk about all things wet and adventurous, including learning to sail large boats, travelling to the largest festival in the world, ever, in India, and of course focusing on problems in our own back yard, such as the lack of clean drinking water in northern First Nations communities, a national shame in a country blessed with as much fresh water as Canada.
“There’s a vastly disproportionate impact on First Nations,” said Tyler.
So why focus on water to begin with?
“Everything is interconnected through water,” said Alex.
Even though social, environmental, economic and political issues all tie in to clean water, “we don’t see the connections. It’s not always obvious to us,” said Tyler.
While the brothers are passionate about water issues, they realize that working in television, they need to keep their message entertaining, particularly to reach a younger audience. That’s where the travel and adventure comes into play.
INDIA FESTIVAL   In one episode, the brothers travel to India for the Kumbh Mela Festival on the Ganges River, one of the most celebrated yet polluted rivers in the world.
On the same trip they carried on to Bangladesh, which Alex says is “the canary in the coal mine in terms of climate change.”
PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCHOne adventure sees Alex and Tyler sailing to a remote area in the Pacific ocean, to visit “the great Pacific garbage patch.”
On a related recent trip in Lake Ontario, the boys travelled with a crew to measure the amount of plastic debris in their home waters.
PLASTIC BOTTLES“We don’t have the capacity to filter out small pieces of plastic in our wastewater stream,” said Tyler. “It’s being produced even faster than we can figure out where it’s going.”
Another episode involves farmed fish in British Columbia, which might also hit close to home, at least with Toronto seafood lovers.
“Salmon is such an iconic species in Canada, especially on the west coast. It’s a keystone species,” said Tyler.
AlexSALMON agrees, pointing out that what we eat in Ontario creates a measurable impact on water quality in western Canada.
“We aren’t necessarily directly connected to the ocean, but we make food choices every day which do connect us to the ocean,” he said.
Both brothers agree that presenting solutions is a key aspect to their show. From large scale changes to individual choices, Alex and Tyler always try to present viewers with tangible actions they can take to effect change.
Although the brothers are already in the early planning stages for season three, the current season is set to premiere on TVO tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. The episodes can also be streamed any time after broadcast at tvo.org and thewaterbrothers.ca.
QUENCH WATER FINDERAlex and Tyler are also working on redesigning and expanding Quench, their mobile app which offers users a map of the closest taps to fill up on clean water in the GTA, to help reduce reliance on plastic bottles. Quench can be downloaded for Android and iPhone.
Anyone interested in helping out directly alongside the Water Brothers can join Alex and Tyler, and many others, at Woodbine Beach on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 21 for the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

http://www.beachmetro.com/2013/09/10/beachers-alex-tyler-mifflin-care-oxygen-hydrogen-water-brothers-siblings-widely-known-proud-launch-season-eponymous-television-show-tonight-sept-10-tvo-brothers-sat-week-talk-wet-adv/

HOW EARTH MADE US – WATER ~ A MUST SEE VIDEO!!!

HOW EARTH MADE US_WATER

How Earth Made Us – The untold story of history.

This is part 2 in Professor Iain Stewart’s series, “How Earth Made Us”.  I highly recommend you take an hour to watch it as it is superlative!!!

Our planet has amazing power, and yet that’s rarely mentioned in our history books. This series tells the story of how the Earth has influenced human history, from the dawn of civilisation to the modern industrial age. It reveals for the first time on television how geology, geography and climate have been a far more powerful influence on the human story than has previously been acknowledged. A combination of epic story telling, visually stunning camerawork, extraordinary locations and passionate presenting combine to form a highly original version of human history.

Youtube video, “How Earth Made Us – Water”, uploaded on May 16, 2011 – Of all our planet’s forces perhaps none has greater power over us than water.  For me water is the most magical force on earth.  The presence of water shapes, renews and nourishes our planet.  It’s our planet’s life blood, that pumps through it continuously…

Water

This time he explores our complex relationship with water. Visiting spectacular locations in Iceland, the Middle East and India, Iain shows how control over water has been central to human existence. He takes a precarious flight in a motorised paraglider to experience the cycle of freshwater that we depend on, discovers how villagers in the foothills of the Himalayas have built a living bridge to cope with the monsoon, and visits Egypt to reveal the secret of the pharaohs’ success. Throughout history, success has depended on our ability to adapt to and control constantly shifting sources of water.

Discover why societies have succeeded or failed, and how the environment has influenced every aspect of our history from art to industry, religion to war, world domination or collapse. Visiting some of the most iconic places on Earth, How Earth Made Us overturns preconceptions about our civilisations and our cultures to offer a new perspective on who we are today.

~Youtube video presented by Professor Iain Stewart ~

Link to ~ How Earth Made Us—a masterly BBC documentary

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/04/eart-a21.html

 
Our heartfelt thanks to Professor Stewart
for his exceptional accomplishment!

‘Grand Canyon’ of Greenland Discovered Under Ice Sheet

View of the subglacial canyon,
looking northwest from central Greenland

GREENLAND

The age of discovery isn’t over yet. A colossal canyon, the longest on Earth, has just been found under Greenland’s ice sheet, scientists announced today (Aug. 29) in the journal Science.

The following reblog is from counselheal.com’s article by Cheri Cheng ~ In an accidental find, researchers identified a huge canyon underneath Greenland’s thick ice sheet. This canyon is roughly twice as long as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The newly discovered canyon is believed to be 800km or 497 miles long and 800m or half mile deep. It is encased under the ice and carved out by a great river.

GREENLAND TOPOGRAPHIC“With satellite images instantly available on a mobile phone we could assume that the Earth has been fully mapped, but there’s clearly a lot left to discover. We’re incredibly excited about this – it really is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery to find something on this scale,” the lead author, Professor Jonathan Bamber of Bristol University said according to BBC News.

Youtube video, “Greenland’s Mega Canyon, posted August 29, 2013 by mvdktube ~

The researchers came across the canyon as they were studying climate changes in the ice sheet. The researchers were interested in finding out how global warming will affect the melting of the ice sheet. Over the past years, central Greenland was 500m or 0.3 miles above sea level. Now, central Greenland is 200m or 0.1 miles above sea level, a drastic change. Upon doing their research, the team used radar to bounce off signals from the bedrock beneath the ice sheet, which is currently two miles thick. By using certain frequencies, the researchers knew that the ice sheet would be transparent to radio waves. With the help of previous research from NASA and from research out of the United Kingdom and Germany, the team found the canyon.

 PETERMANN GLACIER“The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets hide a lot. It’s pretty surprising to find this canyon. Greenland isn’t that big for a canyon of that size and for it to survive in its pre-glacial form after successive glaciations is quite something,” Professor David Vaughan from British Antarctic Survey said. “There’s likely to be some sort of bacteria down there – whether it’s viable is a different matter.”

The researchers believe that the canyon existed before the ice sheet developed. They also theorized that parts of the canyon might have been visible 100,000 years ago. The canyon currently runs through the center of Greenland and up to the northern coastline. It runs “downhill” and the water from the ice sheet trickles out slowly by the northern end.

This new find is extremely exciting. The canyon is believed to be one of the largest ones in the world. The report was published in Science.

Link to article ~
http://www.counselheal.com/articles/6552/20130830/researchers-discover-huge-canyon-under-greenland-s-ice-sheet-video.htm