This perform the logos of program or partners of NG education and learning which have listed or added the content on this page. Powered by
A canyon is a deep, narrow valley through steep sides. “Canyon” originates from the Spanish indigenous cañon, which means “tube” or “pipe.” The term “gorge” is often used to typical “canyon,” however a alleyways is practically always steeper and narrower 보다 a canyon.The movement of rivers, the procedures of weathering and erosion, and tectonic activity create canyons. River CanyonsThe most familiar form of canyon is most likely the river canyon. The water press of a river can reduced deep right into a river bed. Sediments indigenous the flow bed are brought downstream, developing a deep, narrow channel. Rivers the lie in ~ the bottom of deep canyons are recognized as entrenched rivers. They room entrenched because, unlike rivers in wide, flat flood plains, they carry out not meander and change their course.The Yarlung Zangbo grand Canyon in Tibet, a an ar of southwestern China, was created over countless years by the Yarlung Zangbo River. This canyon is the deepest in the world—at part points extending more than 5,300 meters (17,490 feet) from top to bottom. Yarlung Zangbo Canyon is also one that the world’s longest canyons, at around 500 kilometers (310 miles). Weathering and ErosionWeathering and also erosion likewise contribute come the formation of canyons. In winter, water seeps into cracks in the rock. This water freezes. Together water freezes, it expands and turns into ice. Ice pressures the cracks to become larger and larger, eroding bits of stone in the process. Throughout brief, heavy rains, water rushes down the cracks, eroding even an ext rocks and stone. As much more rocks crumble and also fall, the canyon grows wider at the optimal than at the bottom. Once this process happens in soft rock, such together sandstone, it can lead come the development of slot canyons. Slot canyons are really narrow and deep. Sometimes, a slot canyon can be much less than a meter (3 feet) wide, yet hundreds of meter deep. Slot canyons deserve to be dangerous. Your sides space usually very smooth and challenging to climb. Some canyons through hard, underlying absent may develop cliffs and ledges after their softer, surface ar rock erodes. These ledges watch like gigantic steps. Sometimes, entire people can construct on and also around these canyon ledges. Aboriginal American nations, such as the Hopi and also Sinagua, do cliff dwellings. Cliff residences were apartment-style shelters the housed hundreds of people. The shaded, elevated ledges in Walnut Canyon and also Canyon de Chelly, in Arizona, noted protection from enemy neighbors and also the burning desert sun.Hard-rock canyons the are open up at one end are dubbed box canyons. The Hopi and Navajo civilization often supplied box canyons as natural corrals for sheep and also cattle. They simply developed a door on the open side of the box canyon, and also closed it once the animals were inside.Limestone is a kind of hard rock often discovered in canyons. Sometimes, limestone erodes and also forms caves in ~ the earth. As the ceilings of this caves collapse, canyons form. The Yorkshire Dales, an area in north England, is a collection of flow valleys and also canyons developed by limestone cave collapses.
You are watching: Which activity led to the formation of the grand canyon
Tectonic UpliftCanyons are also formed by tectonic activity. Together tectonic plates in ~ the earth’s crust shift and collide, their movement can adjust the area’s landscape. Sometimes, tectonic task causes an area that the earth’s crust to rise higher than the surrounding land. This process is called tectonic uplift. Tectonic uplift can create plateaus and also mountains. Rivers and also glaciers that cut through these elevated areas of land develop deep canyons. The cool Canyon, in the U.S. State the Arizona, is a product of tectonic uplift. The cool Canyon, as much as 447 kilometers (277 miles) long, 29 kilometers (18 miles) wide, and also 1.8 kilometers (6,000 feet) deep, is the biggest canyon in the unified States. The cool Canyon has been carved, over countless years, as the Colorado river cuts with the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado Plateau is a big area that was elevated v tectonic uplift numerous years ago. Geologists conflict the period of the canyon itself—it may be between 5 million and 70 million year old.Canyons reveal Earth’s HistoryCanyons are prefer silent journals of one area’s background over thousands or also millions the years. By examining the exposed layers of absent in a canyon wall, specialists can learn around how the climate changed, what sort of organisms were alive at specific times, and perhaps even how the canyon may adjust in the future. Because that example, geologists researching layers of absent in the Columbia river Gorge, in the U.S. States of Washington and Oregon, found that the earliest rocks there are at least 17 million year old. They also found out the rocks are dark-black basalt, make from hardened lava. Native this, geologists identified that the rocks formed when volcanoes erupted and their lava spilled out onto the land. Over countless years, the Columbia River and also Ice age glaciers cut through the area and exposed its volcanic beginnings.Canyons are likewise important to paleontology, or the research of fossils. Fossils space often ideal preserved in dry, warm areas. Since canyons usually type under the exact same conditions, lock are great places to research fossils.The layers of sediment revealed through a canyon can make it simpler to date fossils. For example, a new area that dinosaur tracks was found in the U.S. State that Utah at Glen Canyon national Recreation Area in 2009. These tracks reveal brand-new information about a team of dinosaurs referred to as ornithopods. Paleontologists analyzed the great of rock neighboring the fossils to estimate just how old they were. These brand-new dinosaur tracks show that ornithopods were alive 20 million years previously than scientists thought. Geologists study canyons to determine exactly how the see will adjust in the future. The erosion patterns and also thickness of different layers have the right to reveal the climate during various years. A series of very dry years will have an extremely thin layers of rock, when tiny erosion took place. The all at once pattern the erosion and layering expose the price of water flow, indigenous both the river and rain, v a canyon. Geologists estimate that the grand Canyon, because that example, is gift eroded at a price of 0.3 meters (1 foot) every 200 years. The Colorado Plateau, the geologic area whereby the cool Canyon is located, is a very stable area. Geologists expect the cool Canyon to continue to deepen as long as the Colorado flow flows.
See more: What Time Dies It Get Dark After Sunset? When Does It Get Dark
Submarine CanyonsSome of the deepest canyons lie in ~ the ocean. These submarine canyons cut into continental shelves and continental slopes—the edge of continents that room underwater.Some submarine canyons were sculpted by rivers the flowed throughout periods when the sea level was lower, and also the continent shelves to be exposed. The Hudson Canyon extend 750 kilometers (450 miles) right into the Atlantic Ocean, indigenous the mouth that the Hudson River, in the U.S. Claims of new York and brand-new Jersey. At least part of the Hudson Canyon to be the river bed throughout the last ice cream age, once sea level were lot lower.Submarine canyons can likewise develop when an effective ocean currents move away sediments. Simply as rivers erode land, this currents carve deep canyons in the ocean floor. Solid currents of the Atlantic ocean prevent Whittard Canyon, around 400 kilometers (248 miles) southern of the coast of Ireland, indigenous filling through sediment. Researchers studying Whittard Canyon think glacial water combined with seawater to rush into the submarine canyon thousands of years ago.The development of some submarine canyons is tho a mystery. Monterey Canyon is a deep submarine canyon turn off the coast of the U.S. State the California. It has been contrasted to the grand Canyon because of its size. The is 152 kilometers (95 miles) long and also 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) deep in ~ its deepest point. Geologists still aren’t certain how Monterey Canyon was formed. One concept is the the canyon was created by an ancient outlet that the Sacramento or Colorado Rivers. An additional theory is the it was formed by tectonic activity—an earthquake dividing apart the absent with enormous force. Scientists think the canyon was formed 25 million to 30 million year ago.The depth the submarine canyons makes them difficult to explore. Scientists usually use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to command studies. Sometimes, they deserve to use a submersible, a special type of submarine. The Monterey bay Aquarium research Institute (MBARI) provides a vehicle called Ventana to explore Monterey Canyon. With the Ventana and other study vehicles, MBARI scientists have actually discovered new species that organisms living in the canyon, from tiny sea anemones to gigantic squid.