New York: There was a green and forested landscape prior to the time that the ice sheet began to form in Greenland and scientists have now discovered that the three-million-year-old landscape still exists beneath the Greenland ice sheet.
Pre-glacial landscapes can remain preserved for long periods under continental ice sheets, said the study.
"Rather than scraping and sculpting the landscape, the ice sheet has been frozen to the ground, like a giant freezer that has preserved an antique landscape," said Paul R. Bierman from the University of Vermont in the US.
The researchers made the discovery on the basis of an analysis of the chemical composition of silts recovered from the bottom of an ice core more than 3,000 meters long.
In the time since the ice sheet formed "the soil has been preserved and only slowly eroded, implying that an ancient landscape underlies 3,000 meters of ice at Summit, Greenland", the researchers concluded.
Summit is situated at an elevation of 3,216 meters (10,551 feet) above sea level.