I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.


Thank you for stopping by. Just to let you know, I'm still blogging but have moved to Geogypsytraveler. Hope you'll follow my adventures. Just click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rock Fall at Grand Canyon

Taken from Plateau Point
The reason the Grand Canyon is so much wider than the 300-400 foot Colorado River is one of the best erosion stories on earth.
Middle Permian Paleogeography of North America about 275 million years ago – Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau by Ron Blakey and Wayne Ranney
Over 1,500 million years about one mile of limestone, sandstone and shale sediments were deposited in northern Arizona by oceans, swamps, deltas, beaches and sand dunes.

Ripple marks on limestone
Possibly another mile of deposits on top of that eroded away yet can be seen at Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Bryce and Zion National Parks.

Kaibab Plateau
Then about 65 million years ago the area now known as the Colorado Plateau uplifted 6,000-8,000 feet, almost like a cake rising, and left the deposited layers intact.

Taken from Desert View South Rim
Rocky Mountain snow melt forms the headwaters of the Colorado River which are joined by the Green River from Wyoming, San Juan River from Colorado, Little Colorado River and many tributaries to create a fast flowing river full of sediments and boulders capable of carving through the mile of deposits over the last 5-6 million years.

Erosion from the walls of the canyon continues. Because the North Rim is 1,200 feet higher than the South Rim and gets more precipitation, 25 versus 15 inches, water flowing over the rim causes headwater erosion which slowly moves the North Rim further away from the Colorado River.

Fresh rock fall discovered the first week in June
The expansion of freezing water and tree roots also contribute to erosion. Rocks fall regularly but rarely does anyone see it happen. One of my fellow Rangers noticed this fresh rock fall one morning. Damn, we missed it again.


Rambling Woods said...

I enjoyed the lesson as I have never been to that part of the country.. Mother Nature's power is amazing...
Michelle From Rambling Woods

dAwN said...

Thanks for the great information! Nature is amazing!

Sally in WA said...

If a rock falls in the Grand Canyon and a Ranger isn't around to hear it, does it make a sound? :-)

Great pics, Gaelyn. And thanks for the geology lesson. I never knew the North Rim was higher than the South Rim.

Kathiesbirds said...

Fascinating post Gaelyn! I didn't know the north rim was that much higher in elevation! I still hope I can get up there this year. A friend of mine was just up there and saw the condors! I am soooo jealous!

Karen said...

You are just so full of information. I have learned so much about my "hometown" from reading your blog. Thank you!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a fascinating post and intresting information Gaelyn. Thank you for it. :)

Unseen Rajasthan said...

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Kcalpesh said...

Superb location and stunning photography! Thanks for sharing this great place and it's pictures!

Jazz said...

I love going to the southwest for just this reason. The geology of the whole southwestern US is fascinating. Last winter we were in Nevada at Red Rock Canyon and there's this bizarre formation where the granite has pushed up over the sandstone. The forces at work are mind-boggling.

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