Between 65 and 145 million years ago, which of these Amazon rivers flowed towards the Pacific Ocean, in the opposite direction it flows today?
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Between 65 and 145 million years ago, which of these rivers flowed towards the Pacific Ocean, in the opposite direction it flows today?
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Between 65 and 145 Million Years Ago Which of These Rivers Flowed Towards the Pacific Ocean?
Did you know that between 65 and 145 million years ago which of the following rivers flowed towards the Pacific Ocean? The answer is surprising because the Amazon once flowed east to west. But that wasn’t always the case. During the Cretaceous Period when the continents of South America and Africa broke apart, the rivers once flowed east to west. The highland that separated these two continents shifted the flow of the river, eventually draining into a new ocean.
This continent-wide shift was possible because of the speed at which sediments from the Amazon River traveled from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. In this case, the sediments from the Amazon River must have been deposited eastward, whereas those from the western Andes would contain younger minerals. The researchers at UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, collected zircon samples from different parts of the Amazon Basin. The study is due to be presented at the Geological Society of America annual meeting on April 30.
The ancient Amazon river may have flowed westward when the continents were joined together. But when the African tectonic plates crossed over the South American tectonic plates, the sediments were washed down from the highlands. This caused the river to tilt westward, sending sediment that was two billion years old to the center of the continent. The Andes, on the other hand, started to grow during the Cretaceous period and redirected the river back towards the Purus Arch. Its sediment was filled with mineral grains that were younger than 500 million years old.
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