Dating the grand canyon

dating the grand canyon

How old is the Grand Canyon in years?

The canyon itself has formed much more recently than the deposition of rock layers, only about five million years ago (as opposed to the rocks, the youngest of which are a little less than 300 million years old). The canyon has since been forming at varying rates, with periods of intense erosion carving the canyon.

Where is the Grand Canyon located?

The Grand Canyon is in the northwest corner of Arizona, close to the borders of Utah and Nevada. Most of the Grand Canyon lies within Grand Canyon National Park and is managed by the National Park Service, the Hualapai Tribal Nation and the Havasupai Tribe.

Is the Grand Canyon older than the Colorado River?

Scientists have used this type of relative dating technique to narrow the age of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. Scientists know that the Colorado River carved Grand Canyon. The river is thus slightly older than the canyon, though the two are certainly close in age.

What is the geologic history of the Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon is the result of a distinct and ordered combination of geologic events. The story begins almost two billion years ago with the formation of the igneous and metamorphic rocks of the inner gorge. Above these old rocks lie layer upon layer of sedimentary rock, each telling a unique part of the environmental history...

Is the Grand Canyon 70 million years old?

Some scientists believe that the Grand Canyon is 70 million years old. Others contend that the natural wonder is only between five and six million years old. Both are right. Scientists examined rocks from the Grand Canyon with the so-called thermo chronology method.

When did the Grand Canyon start and end?

Research suggests that the Colorado River is estimated to have started eroding and downcutting the Grand Canyon at least 17 million years ago to as much as 70 million years ago, depending on who you ask and what section of the Grand Canyon you are asking about. But when did the downcutting “finish”?

How old are the walls of the Grand Canyon?

One thing geologists can agree on is the age of the layers of rock that make up the walls of the Grand Canyon. The youngest layer of the canyon—the Kaibab—is 270 million years old, while the oldest layers date back as far as 1.8 billion years.

Is the Grand Canyon older than the dinosaurs?

Karlstrom and his colleagues challenged the idea that the gorge we know as the Grand Canyon was around in the age of the dinosaurs. In research also backed by thermochronology, they argued that though some sections of it are older, the canyon as it exists today is no more than 6 million years old.

What type of geology is the Grand Canyon?

Geology. Grand Canyon is the result of a distinct and ordered combination of geologic events. The story begins almost two billion years ago with the formation of the igneous and metamorphic rocks of the inner gorge. Above these old rocks lie layer upon layer of sedimentary rock, each telling a unique part of the environmental history...

What is the history of the Grand Canyon?

Scientists estimate the canyon may have formed 5 to 6 million years ago when the Colorado River began to cut a channel through layers of rock. Humans have inhabited the area in and around the canyon since the last Ice Age. The first Europeans to reach the Grand Canyon were Spanish explorers in the 1540s.

How old are the rocks in the Grand Canyon?

Remember, the oldest rocks in Grand Canyon are 1.8 billion years old. The canyon is much younger than the rocks through which it winds. Even the youngest rock layer, the Kaibab Formation, is 270 million years old, many years older than the canyon itself.

How did the Grand Canyon get so big?

Still today these forces of nature are at work slowly deepening and widening the Grand Canyon. Horizontal striations can be found in the walls of the majority of the canyon. The story of how Grand Canyon came to be begins with the formation of the layers and layers of rock that the canyon winds through.

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