Long Ago, a River Ran Through It

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Science  05 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5271, pp. 31
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5271.31


Today the hills outside Amarillo, Texas, are dry, but 225 million years ago this region held the thunderous headwaters of a giant river. Research reported on page 97 uses a new method—precise dating of crystals of the mineral zircon—to show that the ancient Chinle River once rushed 1500 kilometers from what is now Texas to Nevada. By tying the river's mouth to its source, the study offers an unusually detailed window into the Late Triassic geography of the supercontinent of Pangaea.