The Grand Canyon

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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The Grand Canyon is one of America's greatest natural treasures. This 277-mile-long gash in Arizona's red-rock is eye candy for any tourist. It is located in the top left corner of Arizona. The name itself is a testament to its grand scale. Although the canyon is new , geologically speaking, it is very deep. The canyon floor in some places is more than a vertical mile down . The Colorado River that flows at the bottom is partly responsible for this huge landform. It has cut through the different layers of rock exposing some of the oldest rock in the world . Poet Philip Wofford describes it best as "The birthplace of monuments, the beginning of temples, Grand Canyon make by the liquid snake, a gorge so deep the sky is narrow as a line of blue thread." The Grand Canyon started to form 1.7 to 4.5 million years ago .

At this time the Colorado River was meandering across a great plain. It was nearly at sea level. The plain started to get pushed up by the two fault lines west and east of it. This caused the slope to become steeper and so causing the river to flow faster. On its way the river picked up sand and silt which helped it wear away the rock. As the plateau rose the river did not. For the river to carve the canyon in less than two million years it would have to remove 3.2 million cubic yards of rock per year, cutting down the canyon at the amazing rate of 3.2 feet every thousand years . The canyon walls grew higher and higher every year. The canyon today is not below sea level, as one would think given its amazing depth.

The river has probably eroded its way through...