Forming the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, United States, Canyon


Almost anyone who has never been to the Grand Canyon, wishes they could do so. It is the most spectacular view, and standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon that you feel like you’re facing the tremendous power of natural forces and time. Why is it so impressive? It consists of a massive gash across the desert, nearly 300 miles long, more than a mile deep along much of its length, and up to 18 miles wide. But how was it formed? Was it really made by the Colorado River?
The rocks near the base of the canyon are nearly two billion years old, while the ones at the top were formed about 200 million years ago. Forming these deposits took about half the age of Earth.
However, even though the deposits took such a long time to form, it did not take nearly that long to create the canyon. The Rocky Mountains on the east of the plateau were also formed by exactly the same collision.
About 5 million years ago, an opening was formed from the plateau to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the altitude change from the higher reaches of the plateau into the sea, the water flowed quickly, carrying out sand and stone. Then, during the ice ages, the water flow rose and the river cut into the rock.
The debris of the water running downward, during a period of a heavy flow, cuts in the sides of the canyon, which makes it wider, and to the river bed, making it deeper. Moreover, if plants are known to stabilize the soil and stone, the desert has very few of these. The lack of a full vegetation also favors the rapidity of erosion on the plateau. Just how long did it take for the Grand Canyon to form? On the scale of geological change, only about the blink of an eye.

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