'Undersea' River Discovered

LEEDS, England, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Researchers say they’ve discovered an underwater river flowing along the bottom of the Black Sea, complete with rapids and waterfalls.

British scientists say if found on land it would be the sixth largest river in the world in terms of the amount of water flowing through it, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The river of highly salty water flows along a deep channel at the bottom of the Black Sea, creating riverbanks and flood plains much like a river found on land, researchers from the University of Leeds said.

“The water in the channels is denser than the surrounding seawater because it has higher salinity and is carrying so much sediment,” Dr. Dan Parsons said.

“It flows down the sea shelf and out into the abyssal plain much like a river on land,” he said. “The abyssal plains of our oceans are like the deserts of the marine world, but these channels can deliver nutrients and ingredients needed for life out over these deserts.

“This means they could be vitally important, like arteries providing life to the deep ocean.”

The as-yet-unnamed undersea river is created by salty water spilling through the Bosphorus Strait from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea, where the water has a lower salt content.

The denser water from the Mediterranean flows like a river along the seabed, carving a channel with banks around 115 feet deep and 0.6 of a mile wide.

It is the only active undersea river to have been found so far, The Daily Telegraph said.

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