World’s third longest river Yangtze at least 23mn years old

  • PTI, Beijing
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 26, 2013 01:40 IST

Yangtze -- the world’s third longest river -- located in China, is at least 23 million years old, an international team of scientists has found.

The study conducted by a team of Chinese, Japanese, American and Australian researchers has found that Yangtze is not older than 36.5 million years.

The river flows from the  glaciers of the Tibetan plateau 6,418 km across China to the East China Sea at Shanghai.

Yangtze has a long and varied history, going back thousands of years but until now, scientists have not been able to determine just how long the river has been in existence.

In the new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers studied Lower Miocene sediments and compared them with sediments that came about in modern times.

They found virtually no differences between the two which the teams suggested, means that a river very much like the one that exists today, existed as far back as 23 million years ago.

Most research to date has suggested that the river changed direction during an uplifting of the Tibetan Plateau following an India-Eurasian plate collision millions of years ago.

To get a better estimate, the new research studied rocks taken from the Jianghan Basin, downstream from the Three Gorges Dam, news website ‘’ reported.


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