Scientific editing by Nick Rogers.

Nicholas Christie-Blick writes: Kilometre-deep buried canyons in the upper Neoproterozoic successions of South Australia are unusual by any standard, and any viable explanation for their origin will probably involve an unusual set of circumstances. Williams & Gostin (2000) review published geological constraints and competing hypotheses, and suggest a role for uplift and crustal deformation associated with the passage of a mantle plume. On the basis of available evidence, I continue to favour an alternative explanation—that they are due to the short-lived evaporative drawdown of sea level in a marine embayment that became temporarily isolated from...

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