If the sheets follow suit as expected, ice in the troughs will flow to the sea much more quickly, further raising sea levels. "That makes them really important, and we simply didn't know they existed before now", she told BBC News.
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.
To obtain to the flooring of Structure Trough, for instance, you would have to drill through over 2km of ice cover.
Researchers have actually found 3 huge canyons in among the last locations to be checked out in the world - under the ice at the South Pole.
The Allan Hills fall within a region called the Transantarctic Mountains, whose steep, uneven topography was long thought to be too unstable to contain deep, ancient ice of this kind.
Computer system modellers will now take the brand-new details to attempt to imitate exactly what it indicates for future warming situations. Ice streams away on either side, through the channels - to the Weddell Sea in the east and the Ross Sea in the west.
The history of Earth isn't written in ink, but in ancient ice - buried under places so unforgivingly frozen, they're usually mistaken for wastelands. "But the mountains we've found effectively put a plug in that bottleneck".
According to the researchers' observations, the newly-discovered troughs control the speed of ice flow between the East and West Antarctic ice sheets. The PolarGAP project is flying radar-equipped planes over those places to collect data in the satellites' stead.
As the BBC points out, this paper is the first to come out of PolarGAP, a project of the European Space Agency to take observations of a part of the planet that its satellites can not "see", because they don't orbit over the planet that far south.
The only method to fill this "information hole" is to fly sensing units on aircrafts rather.
The insights for Dr Winter's paper come from an airborne ice-penetrating radar. This will describe the layers and total thickness of the ice sheet. It will likewise map the shape of the basement rock.
"Remarkably, the South Pole region is one of the least understood frontiers in the whole of Antarctica".
It is possible the troughs detected under today's ice sheet were dug out during a previous glacial period when the ice over the continent was configured in a very different way.
And then researchers from the University of Washington (who put together the new evidence) hauled ice-penetrating radars to take a closer look, finding a spot that would be a ideal candidate just 3 miles (5 kilometers) from where the Princeton sample was found.