How old are the mountains?

New research suggests Sierra Nevadas older than previously thought. 50 million years ago:

The western United States would have looked very different back then, filled with lush forests of vines and magnolias. The Pacific Ocean would have lapped the foot of the Sierras.

“The work, which was published in the journal Geology, also provides a more accurate tool for exploring the elevation of ancient landscapes.” It looked at leaves and things washed out of the mountains and figure that they “were sitting at their current height 30 million years earlier than anticipated” when it was more than ten degrees warmer.

Can you break open a rock and find 50 million year old leaves and figure out the story they tell?

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