canyon

submarine canyon

Narrow, steep-sided underwater valley cut into a continental slope. Submarine canyons resemble river canyons on land, usually having steep, rocky walls. They are found along most continental slopes. Those of the Grand Bahama Canyon, which are thought to be the deepest, cut nearly 3 mi (5 km) deep into the continental slope. Most submarine canyons extend only about 30 mi (50 km) or less, but a few are more than 200 mi (300 km) long.

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National monument, north-central Arizona, U.S. Established in 1915 and covering an area of 3 sq mi (8 sq km), it preserves more than 300 pre-Columbian dwellings built by the Pueblo Indians in shallow caves on the canyon walls. Main occupancy was from AD 1000 to 1200.

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National park, Sierra Nevadas, south-central California, U.S. Occupying an area of 722 sq mi (1,870 sq km), it is administered along with the adjacent Sequoia National Park. Established in 1940, it contains giant sequoia trees. Its most spectacular feature is Kings Canyon on the Kings River, which was carved by glacial action.

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Extensive canyon system cut by the Colorado River, northwestern Arizona, U.S. Noted for its rock formations and coloration, it is about 0.1–18 mi (0.2–29 km) wide and extends from northern Arizona to Grand Wash Cliffs, near the Nevada border, a distance of about 277 mi (446 km). The deepest section, 56 mi (90 km) long, is within Grand Canyon National Park, which covers the river's length from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. The surrounding plateau is 6,000–9,000 ft (1,800–2,750 m) above sea level, and the canyon is in places more than 1 mi (1.6 km) deep. The national park, now containing 1,904 sq mi (4,931 sq km), was created in 1919. The former Grand Canyon National Monument, established in 1932, was added, with other lands, in 1975. In 1979 the Grand Canyon was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Preserve, northeastern Arizona, U.S. Located on the Navajo Indian reservation immediately east of Chinle, the preserve was established in 1931 and occupies 131 sq mi (339 sq km). It includes several hundred pre-Columbian cliff dwellings, some of them built in caves on the canyon walls. They represent a broader time span than any other ruins in the Southwest, with many dating from the 11th century. Modern Navajo homes and farms occupy the canyon floor.

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Park, southern Utah, U.S. It is not a true canyon but rather a series of natural amphitheatres below which stands an array of limestone and sandstone columns. Its geology is related to that of Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, since the stone of all three was formed while the entire region was under a shallow sea. The park, established in 1928, covers 35,835 acres (14,513 hectares).

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Park, western Colorado, U.S. Comprising a narrow, deep gorge of the Gunnison River, the preserve, established as a national monument in 1933 and elevated to a national park in 1999, occupies an area of 51 sq mi (133 sq km). The canyon derives its name from its black-stained, lichen-covered walls, which accentuate the gloom of the chasm.

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For the song, see CANYON.MID. For the band, see Canyon (band).

A canyon (rarely cañon) or gorge is a deep valley between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Most canyons were formed by a process of long-time erosion from a plateau level. The cliffs form because harder rock strata that are resistant to erosion and weathering remain exposed on the valley walls. Canyons are much more common in arid areas than in wetter areas because weathering has a greater effect in arid zones. Canyon walls are often formed of resistant sandstones or granite. Submarine canyons are those which form underwater, generally at the mouths of rivers. The word canyon is Spanish in origin (cañón). The word canyon is generally used in the United States, while the word gorge is more common in Europe and Oceania, though it is also used in some parts of the United States and Canada. The military derived word defile is occasionally used in England.

A famous example is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In the southwestern United States, canyons are important archeologically because of the many cliff-dwellings built there, largely by the earlier inhabitants, Ancient Pueblo Peoples.

Sometimes large rivers run through canyons as the result of gradual geologic uplift. These are called entrenched rivers, because they are unable to easily alter their course. The Colorado River and the Snake River in the northwestern United States are two examples of tectonic uplift.

Canyons often form in areas of limestone rock. Limestone is to a certain extent soluble, so cave systems form in the rock. When these collapse a canyon is left, for example in the Mendip Hills in Somerset and Yorkshire Dales in Yorkshire, England.

A canyon may also refer to a rift between two mountain peaks such as those in ranges such as the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas or the Andes. Usually a river or stream and erosion carve out such splits between mountains. Examples of mountain type canyons are Provo Canyon in Utah or Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. Canyons within mountains or gorges that only have an opening on one side are called box canyons.

Largest canyons

The definition of "largest canyon" is rather imprecise, as a canyon can be "large" by its depth, length, or the total area of the canyon system. Also the inaccessibility of the major canyons in the Himalaya contributes to their not being regarded as candidates for the biggest canyon. The definition of "deepest canyon" is similarly imprecise, especially if one includes mountain canyons as well as canyons cut through relatively flat plateaus (which have a somewhat well-defined rim elevation).

The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon, along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet, China, is regarded by some as the deepest canyon in the world, and is even slightly longer than Grand Canyon. Hence it is regarded by many as the world's largest canyon, followed by the Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal, Polung Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet, Cotahuasi Canyon (3,535 m deep and the deepest in the Americas), and the Tekezé gorge (2000m+ deep and deepest in Africa).

Slot canyons are very narrow canyons, often with smooth walls.

Lists

List of canyons

List of Gorges

List of other features causing gorges or canyons

Canyons on other planetary bodies

Venus has many craters and canyons on its surface. The troughs on the planet are part of a system of canyons that is more than 6 400 km long.

See also

Notes

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