The Grand Canyon is spectacular to look at but figuring out how old it is can be frustrating. A new paper says that conventional models and estimates of the last 150 years are way off – it is far older than the 5 to 6 million years old commonly thought.

“Rather than being formed within the last few million years, our measurements suggest that a deep canyon existed more than 70 million years ago,”  says Kenneth A. Farley, Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry at Caltech and coauthor of the study.

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