How Did the Layers of the Grand Canyon Form?
ES2906  A Journey Through Time
The story of the Grand Canyon is not limited to the formation of the rock layers. How the Colorado River cut through the Kaibab Plateau to expose all the layers is a topic of current research. Geologists frequently hike down and raft through the canyon, making observations and gathering evidence that could help explain the details of how the river sculpted the canyon.

Bryan L. Aivazian
Backpacking into the canyon

Most visitors to the Grand Canyon only admire the view from the top. Those who take some time to travel down into the canyon can read some of the clues in the rocks for themselves. Anyone who studies the Grand Canyon can get a sense of Earth's history. One only needs to consider that the present day environment surrounding the canyon is a pine forest, 7000 feet above sea level. The rocks at the top of the canyon formed 250 million years ago while an ocean covered the area. The rocks at the bottom of the canyon represent mountains that formed and were washed to the sea when Earth was a little more than half its present age. The layers of the Grand Canyon tell one of the longest and richest geological stories on Earth.


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