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Route knugget: Colorado in opposite direction through Grand Canyon

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19 February 2008, 00:00

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Routeknugget :

Colorado in opposite direction through Grand Canyon

Colorado
Source: Pascal Brackman
Colorado
Source: Landsat

Geologist believe that at least a part of the Colorado was flowing in the opposite direction (vs the curent flow). It's hard to imagine that such a giant river can switch its course of direction when you walk along the Grand Canyon. But you can see an indication of that opposite flow very clearly on a satellite image (top right).

The tributaries of the Colorado flow towards the Colorado on this image as if the river flows from south to north. Geomorphologists call this kind of tributaries 'barbed tributaries'. Therefore, they believe that this shape is a relict from previous times, when the Colorado was flowing from south to north. 

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