Grand Canyon (photo by Zak Raml)

Grand Canyon by Zak

     The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River, located in the United States in the state of Arizona.  It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, and the Havasupai Tribe. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. He established the Grand Canyon Game Preserve on November 28, 1906 and redesignated the preserve a US National Monument on January 11, 1908. Grand Canyon National Park was finally established as the 17th US National Park by an Act of Congress signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1919.

     The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters). Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.

     On a side note, between 2003 and 2011, 2,215 mining claims have been requested that are adjacent to the Canyon, including claims for uranium mines, the subject in my book, Condor Moon. Mining has been suspended since 2009, when the US.Interior Secretary temporarily withdrew 1 million acres (4,000 km2) from the permitting process, pending assessment of the environmental impact of mining. Critics of the mines are concerned that, once mined, the uranium will leach into the water of the Colorado River and contaminate the water supply for up to 18 million people. 

tanna@tannathornburg.com © Tanna Thornburg 2014