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A Mighty River Reversed

After hurricane Katrina, engineers are contemplating whether or not to move the Mississippi. Meanwhile, researchers have found evidence that the world's largest river basin, the Amazon, once flowed in the opposite direction.

Geologists Russell Mapes and Drew Coleman have discovered that the Amazon once flowed east to west, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific?the opposite of its present direction. They studied rocks in the river basin, and discovered some that contained minerals that could only have come from the east. Mapes says, "It was a surprise, just because I didn't have any idea what to expect?All along the basin, the ages of the mineral grains all pointed to very specific locations in central and eastern South America." This shows that "the surface of the earth is very transient."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

The earth was once a very different place, and it will change dramatically once again if we experience a superstorm. Sometimes change happens so gradually that we don?t notice it?unless we're reminded.

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