Geologists Explain How the Grand Canyon Was Formed
The formation of the US Grand Canyon and the entire plateau of Colorado in which it is carved has been a geological mystery up to these days. But now a gigantic anomalous structure has been discovered beneath this plateau that could help to explain the emergence of a huge gorge.
Over the past 70 million year relatively flat area of the plateau of Colorado in the southwestern part of the United States, climbed about 2 kilometers, was flooded with magma, and later plunged into deep valleys, as a result, the dramatic landscapes, including the Grand Canyon, have been created. Such processes are more likely in the mountain ranges than in plateaus. As a result, geologists have been confused for more than a century and have not been able to explain how the world-famous giant gorge was formed. Anyone who visits the Grand Canyon and looks down must think, “what force created it like this?” The most logical answer might be that the river used to flow here before, but it could not move the rocks.
In the layer of lithosphere beneath the Grand Canyon and under the major part of the western side of the plateau of Colorado, the scientists have found an anomalous cool, dense layer that has sunk more than 200 kilometers in the depth. Researchers believe that this anomaly pulls down the lower part of the crust and that is what may have led to the unusual geological history of the giant gorge and surrounding areas.
According to scientists, an unusual cool layer appeared during the invasion of the asthenosphere into the lithosphere that was at the top. When the molten rocks were falling, they were cooled, the lithosphere was made heavy enough for it to detach and begin to sink deep. The more agile asthenosphere then filled the remaining cavities at the top, where it accumulated and thus led to the rise of the plateau of Colorado.
64 Million Years Older Than Expected
Scientists have been arguing about the age of the Grand Canyon. Most of them believed that it was formed about 5-6 million years ago. However, the new methods of dating when radioactive decay of uranium was used have shown that the canyon is possibly much older, according to a newly published study. The recent study suggests that the Grand Canyon was uprooted to several hundred meters at its current depth almost 70 million years ago.
Researchers believe the Grand Canyon was formed at different times and at different rates, as a result, every new study that is carry out can show some new details. Scientists have previously found that the segments at the Eastern part of the Grand Canyon most likely originated 55 million years ago and were more affected by the processes of erosion. Therefore, this part is older than the other part. Scientists say the ancient Grand Canyon is important in trying to understand the evolution of landscape, topography, hydrology, and tectonics in the western United States and mountain ranges.