The oft repeated words "big ditch", used facetiously to describe the Grand Canyon, obviously do not do it justice. It is impossible to understand the depth and dimension of the Canyon without actually seeing it with your own eyes. The Grand Canyon is not a bowl shaped indentation in the Earth. It is irregular in shape, the result of thousands of years of patient yet violent carving of its walls and by the Colorado River.
It is approximately 200 road miles from the South Rim to the North Rim. At the considerably narrower bottom, it is a walking distance of about 10 miles. From this vantage point, after hiking about one mile down from the South Rim, the distant walls of the Grand Canyon's plateaus and smaller canyons, appear to stretch endlessly.
Fondest memory: While we sat and took a break, we watched clouds roll in over the trail, low to the ground and quick as anything. Jim shook his head in awe. "You can't see anything like this anywhere else," he half whispered, blue eyes wide, "Its amazing to watch nature."
Located near Mather Point. Outdoor exhibits may be viewed anytime (however the lights at Canyon View Information Plaza are turned off at 9pm). Several outdoor exhibits provide a variety of information about Grand Canyon National Park and what to do once at the park. Available facilities include restrooms, pay phones, bookstore, and shuttle bus stops. The canyon rim is only a short stroll away.
Access is via shuttle bus to Canyon View Information Plaza.
* Five million people visit the Grand Canyon every year.
* The Grand Canyon is 443 kilometers long.
* The width is between 180 meters and 30 kilometers.
* The Grand Canyon is 1.6 kilometers deep.
* The North Rim is closed for visitors from half oktober till april.
* You're not allowed to drive with a car at the West Rim Drive.
* The average temperature beneath the Grand Canyon is about 40 degrees Celsius.
* The North Rim and the South Rim are seperated by 16 kilometers, but by car it's a 345 kilometers drive.
* Along the East Rim you'll find an Anasazi settlement and a watch tower.
* The lenght of the Bright Angel Trail is 16 kilometers.
* Till the end of the 19th century the Grand Canyon didn't draw any attention.
* Spanish explorers visited the Grand Canyon in their search for gold, but left empty-handed.
* The expedition of John Wesley Powell over the Colorado River (1869 - 1872) "put the Grand Canyon on the map" for the general public.
* The layers of rock exposed in the canyon walls record much of the geologic history of North America.
* Over several million years the Colorado River has carved an immense chasm through an arid land-one of the greates geoligical features of its kind.
Grand Canyon National Park is the nation's most popular National Park with 5 million visitors annually. Located entirely in northern Arizona, the park encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands.
One of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, the Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers from the rims. Grand Canyon National Park is a World Heritage Site.
Favorite thing: This aerial view of Grand Canyon gives some impression of the intricate landscape that has developed here. This remote region is very different in appearance from those seen by most visitors. The broad shelf below the rim is an erosional feature known as the Esplanade, formed on the upper surface of one of the resistant members of the Supai Group.
Favorite thing: Be curious as to how enormous this jewel of the American National Parks is. The gorge could be as deep as a mile in some areas & as wide as 18 miles. The scale is so vast that even from the best vantage point only a fraction of the Grand Canyon's 277 miles can be seen!
Learn about Geology & Geography.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, located in Northern Arizona, established in 1919, preserves the finest continuous geologic record on earth.
Fondest memory: The trip to the Grand Canyon is a journey rather than a destination; somewhat the same as with life, if you think about it.
2 billion years of history!
Gee, where should I start?
Around that time, I guessed? :-)
Carving Grand Canyon:
* Some of the planet's oldest rock now at the canyon's bottom. Thousands of feet thick, the rock formed from sediments. About 1.7 billion years ago, cataclysmic geological forces crumpled & uplifted the rocks to create a range of mountains that towered about 5 miles high.
* Pressure & heat from the earth then resulted in magma oozing up, forcing itself onto the rock & hardening into veins of pink granite. Over eons, wind & water gnawed the mountain range into a plain & submerged it in sea of water. Remember these all happened in 1.7 billion years ago.
* About 1 billion years ago, the earth shuddered & new range of mountains were formed again. The rains, frost & winds wore away the mountains soon after.
* What we see on the Grand Canyon were accumulated from schist aging 600 million years. During some ages, the region sank beneath advancing seas. Primitive shellfish fossilized in sea bottoms that hardened to shale. Some other time, the restless region rose. Topping the canyon today (8000 ft above sea level) is a 300-foot layer of cream-colored limestone formed from the remains of countless corals, sponges & other marine animals.
Learn a little about the geology behind the formation of this wonder.
What looks timeless here is actually constantly changing. The Grand Canyon encodes 2 billion years (!) of earth's history. This is really beyond my wildest imagination & intelligence. 2 billion years? You must be kidding, right? Well, that's what those guide books say. I'll never understand how the geologists can measure time as long as that! But, it's really incredible just to grasp the meaning of time & space. And, here, yes, at the Grand Canyon, you have a chance to experience it for yourself!
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