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The Grand Canyon

Wow, the amazing Grand Canyon will certainly make you go ooh and aah if you haven’t seen it yet as it’s perched at the edge of the towering and extremely high cliffs.

This amazing canyon was carved out of the copper-colored Colorado River.

These colorful rock layers have got billions of years of history behind them.

Grand Canyon Facts for Kids

  • The Grand Canyon in Arizona in the USA
  • It’s 277 miles long (446 km).
  • The Grand Canyon stretches 18 miles across at its widest point.
  • It reaches approximately 4 miles at its narrowest point
  • It is about 6000 feet deep.
  • Native Americans have lived in the park for thousands of years.
  • For millions of years, the Colorado River has eroded the Grand Canyon’s steep sides.

How Was the Grand Canyon Formed?

As a result of the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon was formed.  More than 2 billion years ago, the river cut into the valley’s rock. Gradually, the canyon grew deeper and deeper. It has existed for thousands of years.

This phenomenon illustrates how both persistent weathering and erosion can drastically alter the Earth.

Erosion of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was formed by water erosion. The Grand Canyon has over 40 different layers of sedimentary rock.

These rocks are millions to billions of years old. A variety of sediments are found here, including sand dunes, schist rocks, and limestone. Many years ago, warm shallow waters caused a number of the formations of the Grand Canyon.

Some think that glaciers and volcanic activity helped create the Grand Canyon. Volcanic rock layers make up some of the oldest layers of the canyon.

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Facts for Kids video

How Big is the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is over 277 miles long. In some places, it reaches 18 miles in width, but it keeps growing due to the Colorado River’s flow.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon area became a National Park in 1919.  

It was designated as America’s 17th National Park.

Despite its size and depth, the Grand Canyon is extremely popular and interesting to millions of tourists each year.

What to Do at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon visitors come from all over the world. The canyon attracts more than 5 million visitors a year. 

Others enjoy the canyon for other things such as:

  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Riding Horses
  • Camping
  • Rafting

It can be very dangerous to explore the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon deaths exceed 600 in the past 150 years. Some people fall because the canyon is very dangerous.

Flying Over the Grand Canyon

The FAA was started because people were trying to fly over the Grand Canyon. In the 1950s, pilots would take people over the Grand Canyon to give them a different perspective from the air.  

In 1956, two planes that had flown from Los Angeles and Chicago crashed, and all the people on board were killed. People are not permitted to fly over the Grand Canyon.

The weather of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon’s weather is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Temperatures can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and zero degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.

Some Grand Canyon History

The Grand Canyon is found in the US state of Arizona and it’s thought of as one of the seven natural wonders.

There is strong evidence that suggests that the Colorado River broke out of the west end of the Grand Canyon about 5 million years ago. But because of this, there is a lot of arguing about what it actually looked like millions of years before this happened. Hmmm, wonder if they’ll ever agree?

Some people wonder whether the river carved out the canyon all at once, or whether there was an ancient gorge just waiting for that flow of river to come?

Some of those clever researchers did a study not that long ago and they found some rocks at the western end that had been eroded and were then exposed on the surface about 70 million years ago. Wow! And still the arguments continue. Because of this, studies are happening all the time in this natural wonder.

The rock found at the bottom of the canyon is called schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock, which is about 2 billion years old. This rock and sediment stopped gathering about 230 million years ago and it is older than dinosaurs. Whoa! They’ve never found any dinosaur bones in the park, but they have found the bones of an 11,000-year-old sloth in the caves, marine fossils, and animal tracks too.

Want to know how The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was created? Well, this is pretty amazing. In the 1950s, passenger flights sometimes went over the Grand Canyon to give their passengers a bit of a view. On June 30, 1956, two planes flying from Los Angeles to Chicago, had both asked for permission to fly over the Grand Canyon’s airspace. They both crashed over the Grand Canyon and unfortunately, everyone on board was killed. Because of this incident, we now have The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

‘Kaibab’ is the name given to the canyon from the Paiute Indian Tribe, which means ‘mountain lying down’ or ‘mountain turned upside down.’ There is creamy white limestone, called Kaibab, which forms on the surface on which the 5 million visitors per year stand on. It is over 230 million years old.

There was a one-armed war veteran called John Wesley Powell. He chartered the course of the Colorado River in 1891 and 1892 in a wooden boat. Wow, that must have been some journey. He was the very first person to use the name ‘Grand Canyon’ and it’s stuck since then.

Learn More

There’s no doubt about it that the Grand Canyon national park is awesome, but amazingly it is not the longest or the deepest gorge. Wow!

Dinosaur bones have never been found in the Grand Canyon and for good reason. Some of the rock in canyon walls is about a billion years older than dinosaurs. But the canyon itself wasn’t actually formed until after the dinosaurs probably were long gone.

Its average depth is about 1.6km, though the canyon varies between 731m deep below Yavapai Point on the South Rim, to 2,377m deep at the North Rim. The canyon travels 446km along its winding path.

In 1994, the Guinness Book of World Records crowned the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in the Himalayas as the world’s longest and deepest canyon. It is 5,382m deep and 496.3km long. Strange, but true.

At its narrowest part, at Marble Canyon, the Grand Canyon is only 548m across. At its widest, it covers 29km. On average, the canyon is only 16km wide from rim to rim, but crossing by foot it is 33 km, and driving by car is a 403km, five-hour marathon. At least you’ll be seeing some cool stuff. Amazingly, Australia wins the prize for the world’s widest canyon, with its Capertee Valley beating the Grand Canyon by a little more than 30km wide.

There are rattlesnakes found here, but there is one that is rather unusual. It is actually pink, and it matches the rocks. Perhaps it’s decided that it wants to blend in with its surroundings.

A surprising fact about the Grand Canyon is that there is a human population. The Havasupai Indian Reservation is home to the Grand Canyon village of Supai. With a population of just 208, it holds the title of being the most remote community in the lower 48 states.

There are some super awesome facts on the amazing Grand Canyon. Who would have known that it wasn’t the deepest or the longest? Wow!