Nile River Formed Millions of Years Earlier Than Thought, Study Suggests

livescience.com | 11/12/2019 | Yasemin Saplakoglu - Staff Writer
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For thousands of years, the Nile River has fertilized valleys along its winding path through northeastern Africa, anchoring ancient civilizations and still serving as an important route of transport and irrigation today.

But the age of its venerable waters, which stretch over 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers), has been debated, with one group of experts claiming the river was born around 6 million years ago when a drainage system changed course, while another claims the river is five times older than that.

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A new study finds evidence that supports the latter theory: The Nile River may have emerged around 30 million years ago, driven by the motion of Earth’s mantle — the thick layer of rock between the Earth's core and crust, a group of researchers reported today (Nov. 11) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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The Nile River is thought to have formed at the same time as the Ethiopian highlands, said lead author Claudio Faccenna, a professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas. The Ethiopian highlands is where one of the Nile River's major tributaries or branches, called the Blue Nile, begins.

The Blue Nile brings in the majority of the Nile River's water — and most of the sediments in it— joining with the river's other tributary (the White Nile) in Sudan, before emptying out into the Mediterranean Sea.

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Faccenna and his team had previously analyzed sediments collected from the Nile Delta — land created as sediment is deposited...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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