The Grand Canyon in Arizona is a natural wonder of the world. At some points, it appears like a magic city of rock, with temples, towers, and castles of dazzling colors.

One of the most amazing things about it is that the Grand Canyon was made by a river. The waters of the Colorado River cut out this great gorge in the course of thousands of years. When you consider that it was cut out of solid rock in many places, you begin to appreciate the tremendous force of these waters. Even now, year by year, the rushing Colorado continues to cut deeper into the bottom of the gorge.

In certain places, the gorge of the Grand Canyon is more than a mile deep. it is from 4 to 18 miles wide. As the river cut deep into the plateau to form the Canyon. it laid bare on the rock walls of the Canyon the story of hundreds of millions of years of the early earth’s history.

Down at the bottom of the gorge, beside the river, ancient crystalline rock is exposed. This is the buried remnant of an ancient mountain range which was folded back on itself and worn down by weather and water. The rise and fall of this mountain range millions of years ago is revealed only by the erosion of the Grand Canyon.

On the base of this buried mountain range rest beds of quartzite, sandstone, and limestone. They were formed over the years as ocean waters from the east and from the west flooded the section and a whole mountain range rose and disappeared. Proof of the fact that great seas once ruched over these rocks is to be found in the fossils that turn up here. There are fossil remains of seaweed, seashells, and fish.

 

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