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Study: Grand Canyon 70 million years old, formed during dinosaur era


A tourist sits on a precipice while gazing out into the Grand Canyon June 10, 2009 at sunset in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.


John Moore

Scientists were way off in guessing the age of the Grand Canyon, a new study suggests.

Try 64 million years off.

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According to the research published in the journal Science, the western portion of the natural wonder in Arizona is about 70 million years old and likely formed during the era of dinosaurs.

Scientists have long believed the canyon to be about 6 million years old.

So why the big divide?

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Well, the scientists who authored the study used a new dating process called thermochronometry. It involves crushing rocks from the bottom of the canyon to analyze their thermal history compared with rocks from several miles beneath the Earth's surface., according to The Associated Press.

"Rocks cool as they approach the Earth's surface by erosion, and (apatite) records this cooling history," US News & World Report quoted the study as saying. "Data from the western Grand Canyon suggested excavation to within several hundred meters of the canyon's modern depth by (70 million years ago), in direct conflict with the young canyon model."

Some veteran geologists are scoffing at the idea that T.Rex may have hung out in the Grand Canyon, calling it "simply ludicrous."

“We can’t put a canyon where they want to put it at the time they want to put it,” Richard Young, a geologist at SUNY Geneseo, told the Washington Post.