research

Grand Canyon may be 60 million years older than previously thought

Saturday, December 01, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: Grand Canyon, research, geology

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) The Grand Canyon may be 60 million years older than scientists had previously believed, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder and the California Institute of Technology, and published in the journal Science.

"Our research implies that the Grand Canyon was directly carved to within a few hundred meters of its modern depth by about 70 million years ago," study co-author Rebecca Flowers said.

That would mean that the canyon existed in roughly its current form for five million years before the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The Grand Canyon is 280 miles long, reaching depths of a mile and widths of up to 18 miles. Scientists believe that the canyon was carved mostly by the waterway that eventually became the Colorado River, although the waterway initially flowed in the opposite direction of the modern river.

Molecular clock

The researchers arrived at the shocking find using a new dating method based on the fact that in a mineral known as apatite, radioactive uranium and thorium atoms naturally decay into helium over time. These helium atoms then naturally work their way through tiny crevices in the rock and out to the surface, where they dissipate into the air. Significantly, the rate at which helium disperses is strongly determined by temperature: at temperatures below 86F, no helium disperses; at temperatures above 158F, all of it does.

Therefore, the researchers examined the presence of helium in apatite from the Grand Canyon, and used that to map the temperatures that the rocks had been exposed to over time.

"The main thing this technique allows us to do is detect variations in the thermal structure at shallow levels of the Earth's crust," Flowers said. "Since these variations are in part induced by the topography of the region, we obtained dates that allowed us to constrain the time frame when the Grand Canyon was incised."

To get a more detailed picture, the researchers also looked at where the helium atoms were distributed in the individual rocks.

"Knowing not just how much helium is present in the grains but also how it is distributed gives us additional information about whether the rocks had a rapid cooling or slow cooling history," Flowers said.

Flowers said that she expects the findings to spark a controversy, as scientists are currently divided over the true age of the canyon. In part, this uncertainty comes from the fact that the canyon appears to have formed in several different segments, perhaps at different times.

Most scientists place the age of the canyon at five to six million years old, based on the age of gravel carried by the ancestral Colorado River. In 2008, a study dated the canyon to 17 million years old based on mineral deposits found in caves in the canyon walls. The same year; however, Flowers and colleagues dated the eastern portion of the canyon to 55 million years ago - but noted that at that time, the bottom of the canyon was higher up than the rim of it is today.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129143301.htm

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.