Grand Canyon born by continental lift

"Drip" within the Earth may have raised the Colorado plateau

By Alexandra Witze, 15:13 PM April 29, 2011

For all its glorious views, the Colorado plateau remains an ugly mystery to geologists. They can’t figure out why and how it rose thousands of feet over the millions of years it took to carve spectacular natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

The answer may lie deep beneath the plateau’s chiseled landscape, a study in the April 28 Nature suggests. Hot rock welling up from below invades the plateau, causing blobs to drip off the bottom.

“It looks kind of like a lava lamp...

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