Grand Canyon much older than once thought

March 7, 2008 at 12:57 AM

NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) -- U.S geologists said new findings suggest the Grand Canyon is probably at least 11 million years older than scientists had estimated.

Previous theories put the Grand Canyon's earliest age as 6 million years but an improved uranium-lead dating technique used to find the age of minerals in the canyon has led geologists to suggest that the canyon was actually created 17 million years ago, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The findings are published in the journal Science.

Victor Polyak of the University of New Mexico said an analysis of water levels shows that small streams created one side of the canyon on the west, while another part of the canyon formed on the east. The report said the two sides broke through in an area known as the Kaibab Arch about 6 million years ago to create one giant canyon.

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