Thursday, January 30, 2014

How old is the Grand Canyon ?

New research has suggested that the iconic geological formation may be a lot younger than thought.

A popular destination for tourists from all over the world, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is the largest canyon on the planet at 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and over 6,000ft deep. How long ago this spectacle formed however remains a point of contention among scientists.

A 2012 study by Rebecca Flowers of the University of Colorado had suggested that the canyon was up to 70 million years old, placing its formation at a time when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.

A more recent study however conducted by a different team using a technique known as thermochronology, which identifies when hot rocks from deep underground first reach the surface, has suggested that at least some parts of the canyon could be a lot younger at just 6 to 7 million years old.

"It will take a bit more time to understand fully why their interpretations are so different from ours and why they conclude that the erosion history varied so dramatically within this short reach of the canyon," said Flowers.

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