An ancient river likely carved the Grand Canyon approximately 60 million years earlier than generally believed, a new study suggests. The exact timing of the Grand Canyon’s origins has been a matter of debate, but most models propose that the majority of the canyon formed 5 to 6 million years ago. Rebecca Flowers and Kenneth Farley have now used a technique called 4He/3He thermochronometry to analyze apatite mineral grains in the east and west Grand Canyon.
Read more about this research from the 29 November issue of Science Express here.
[Image courtesy of Rebecca Flowers; click the image for more information.]