Grand Canyon South Rim
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Stop 8 Furnace Creek Visitor Center
Location: Death Valley National Park, CA.
Date: March 7, 2007

At the Grand Canyon nearly 2 billion years of geologic time are exposed, some almost 20,000 feet thick. The oldest parts of the canyon are igneous/metamorphic rocks exposed in the inner gorge.


View of the Grand Canyon


There are large conformities overlying the igneous rocks and is referred to as ‘the great unconformity’.  Many of the visible layers of the canyon are of sedimentary nature.  Different layers of the formations have different resistances to erosion causing unique weathering patterns.


Flat terraces of former river levels


Some layers are very resistant to erosion causing steep cliffs, while others are eroded easily casing a shallower sloping outcrops.  The Kaibab limestone formation serves as a ‘cap’ to all of the other formations.  The uplifting of the Colorado Plateau cased the Colorado River to down-cut and form the Grand Canyon.


Steep cliffs are visible



By W. Patrick Dryer