What are some facts about the Grand Canyon of Arizona?


Quick Answer

One of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon of Arizona was called by local Native Americans "the mountain turned upside down," or Kaibab. It boasts pink rattlesnakes and contains nearly half the world's history in the strata of rocks. Although the natives named the canyon long before other settlers, it didn't have a universal name until explorer and war veteran John Wesley Powell called it the Grand Canyon while traveling through it on the Colorado River.

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Full Answer

Although the Grand Canyon is one of the most famous and spectacular of its kind in the world, it comes in second for depth and length to the Tsangpo Grand Canyon in the Himalayas. The Tsangpo is 308 miles long to the Grand Canyon's 277 miles, and its depth at 17,567 feet is more than twice that of the Grand Canyon's 7,800-foot depth. As for width, the Capertee Valley in Australia is just feet wider than the Grand Canyon's maximum 18-mile width.

The Grand Canyon has a fascinating and mysterious history. Although geologists agree that the Colorado River had something to do with its formation and most definitely formed the west end nearly 5 million years ago, there's a debate as to how much of the formation before this time was due to the river and how much was due to other factors. The Grand Canyon's history is something of a mystery, but it reveals almost half of the earth's history in its layers of rock, the oldest levels of which date back 1.75 billion years.

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