The Grand Canyon is 446 kilometers (277 miles) long, up to 29 kilometers (18 miles) wide and attains a depth of 1,800 meters (5,905 feet).
At its narrowest, at Marble Canyon, the Grand Canyon is only 548 meters (1798 feet) across.
Around 20 million years ago the Colorado River begins to carve into the Grand Canyon at its eastern end, Marble Canyon, and probably exiting via Kanab Canyon. At 17 million years ago the Colorado Plateau begins to uplift and causes the river to cut deeper.
The different types of rock visible in the Grand Canyon make it an important site for geological research.
The three main types of sedimentary rocks at Grand Canyon are sandstone, shale (or mudstone), and limestone. Metamorphic rocks are rocks that have been changed under great heat and pressure. The original rock can be sedimentary, igneous, or even metamorphic.
Geologists are drawn to the record of Earth’s history contained in sedimentary rocks blanketing the Vishnu schist.
The rock found on the upper rim (limestone) is around 230 million years old.
The rock found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (Vishnu schist) is close to 2 billion years old.
There are approximately 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 types of reptiles and five species of amphibians.
The condors were reintroduced to the Grand Canyon in 1996.
American Indians have been living in and around the canyon for thousands of years.
John Wesley Powell led the first expedition down the Grand Canyon in 1869. He was the first to use the name “Grand Canyon” after it had previous been known as the “Big Canyon” or “Great Canyon”.
Grand Canyon was officially designated a national park in 1919.
The park includes over a million acres of land—(1,218,375.54 acres; 493,077 hectares, to be exact; or 4931 square kilometers; 1,904 square miles).
Grand Canyon National Park is the United States’ 15th oldest national park. In 1979, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site.
Grand Canyon is one the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World”.
Though widely considered one of the world’s most spectacular canyons, the Grand Canyon is neither the world’s longest or deepest gorge.
In 1994, the Guinness Book of World Records crowned the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in the Himalayas as the world’s longest and deepest canyon. Its depth reaches 5,382 meters (17,567 feet) and its length 496.3 kilometers (308 miles).
Grand Canyon is an extremely popular tourist destination with around 5 million visitors enjoying its immense beauty every year.
As well as sightseeing, hiking and rafting are also popular in the area.