The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is a world-renowned showplace of geology. Geologic studies in the park began with the work of Newberry in 1858, and continue today.

The Grand Canyon’s excellent display of layered rock is invaluable in unraveling the region’s geologic history.

Extensive carving of the plateaus allows for the detailed study of the Earth's movements. Processes of stream erosion and vulcanism are also easily seen and studied.

Geologic Formations - Grand Canyon National Park
The Geology of the Grand Canyon
Grand Hikes: Grand Canyon Geology Overview
NPS: Nature & Science Geology Resources
Geologic Activity - Grand Canyon National Park

The rocks of the Grand Canyon reveal an ancient geologic history that is rich and complex. All three basic rock types with sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous origins are represented within its walls, terraces, mesas and buttes.

A vertical mile of formations underlying its rim have been exposed by the erosional processes creating it, revealing strata and formations ranging in age from mid Phanerozoic Eon (about 250 million years old) at the rim, to mid Proterozoic Eon (about 1.75 billion years old) along deep cut portions of the inner gorge where the Colorado River runs.

The still ongoing erosion carving the Grand Canyon below its rim and exposing these primordial rocks is very young in terms of geologic time and was triggered by an uplift 'pulse' within the Colorado Plateau region that began approximately 6 million years ago.


Also See The Section Yavapai Geology Museum
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