The Yarlung Tsangpo Valley in Tibet

Excerpt from

Researchers have made a surprising discovery in Tibet, unearthing an ancient canyon buried under sediment along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in the southern part of the country.
The canyon of feet deep in some places and is believed to have been carved by a river three million to seven million years ago. 

“I was ,” . Jean-Philippe Avouac, professor of geology at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif. and one of the researchers, said in a written statement. “When I first saw the data, I said, ‘Wow!’ It was amazing to see that the river once quite deeply into the Tibetan Plateau because it does not today. That was a discovery.”

tibet canyon
This Google Earth image looks down the Yarlung Tsangpo valley, where the ancient canyon lies about 800 to 900 meters below the present-day river.

A of the ancient canyon was published in the Science on . 21, 2014.