The Grand Canyon of the Colorado is one of the greatest natural wonders that the vast territory of the United States has. It is a spectacular landscape that we have seen countless times on television screens and in the cinema. But when it is discovered in person, it is simply overwhelming. Do you want to know more about him? We are going to tell you how it formed.
Where is the Grand Canyon of the Colorado
Before telling you about the geological process of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, it is good to place it on a map. If you look at the extension of the United States look southwest on the state of Arizona. This river runs through and there is the protagonist of this article.
A unique and spectacular place that, in addition to being one of the first national parks that was protected in America, also has been a World Heritage Site for decades.
The Colorado RiverHorseshoe Bend
The great head of the Grand Canyon is the Colorado River itself. So let's know more about him. Born in the state of Utah and from there he embarks on a path that will take him to Nevada, Arizona and California. After that, the river crosses the border with Mexico, where it irrigates lands of Sonora and Baja California before emptying into the sea.
In total, the Colorado has 2333 kilometers of travel, although it is true that the most impressive are the more than 300 that form the Grand Canyon. A landscape carved the river itself for millions of years.
Long before the Grand Canyon existed
If we want to refer to the most remote origin of this fantastic natural accident, we have to go back about 2000 million years. All these lands were submerged under the sea and that was when the different rocks and sediments that were going to come to light were accumulating in strata.
And, at one point, what would appear today is the Colorado plateau, at the same time that the Rocky Mountains rose. All this is an extremely slow process and by then there would be nothing that resembled the gigantic current canyon.
In fact, the researchers, for the most part as we will see later, consider that the Grand Canyon did not begin to be excavated until 'only' about 6 million years ago.
The river, the great sculptorColorado River
It would be then when the water force began to carve the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The reason should be sought in tectonic movements that caused him to bow down and have enormous strength.
To this should be added to the large flow of the river, heir to the melting of the glaciations and the humidity of this entire territory. All these factors came together to make the erosive force of the Colorado River was unstoppable.
The result was a canyon that at times exceeds 1600 meters deep. A considerable altitude and that, in addition, exposes all strata of billions of years of geological history of our planet.
Without a doubt, the contemplation of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado can be the best kind of geology one can ever receive. In fact, Although today the process is much slower, this erosion continues.
Other theories about its formationGrand Canyon
While the vast majority of scientists think that the Grand Canyon is the work of the Colorado River and has the aforementioned antiquity, there are also scholars who have contributed other theories. The latter raises more remote origins, in the Cretaceous, 70 million years ago. They attribute this erosion to an earlier river that has already disappeared.
It is not the only theory that discusses the most official version, something that has emerged with new technological tools to investigate. But nevertheless, the scientific community mostly does not agree with that.
The visit to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado
What is out of any debate is the beauty of the Grand Canyon. A place that can be traveled by land, sea and air. You can walk along its paths, you can descend sailing and doing rafting by the Colorado river. And from Las Vegas depart helicopter flights to fly over this landscape.
Y don't forget the skywalk, the famous transparent platform that vertiginously rises above this landscape. Since it is contemplated, it is one of the most spectacular visions that can be had in the United States.