According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a ‘Canyon’ is:
“A deep narrow valley with steep sides and often with a stream flowing through it.”
Your Dictionary adds this definition:
“The definition of a canyon is a deep ravine or gorge that typically exists between two cliffs.”
“A narrow chasm with steep cliff walls, cut into the earth by running water; a gorge.”
People come from all over the world just to see our magnificent canyons. In fact, I recently read an article that stated that the most common impression from Europeans on their first trip to the U.S. Southwest was the total awe they find themselves in at the unbelievable vastness, sheer size and incredible beauty of the area.
BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A CANYON:
*Canyons are formed in plateau or mountainous regions as streams adjust themselves to rapid tectonic uplift, wind, water or erosion and cut through the landscape to reach the valley floor.
*Canyon bottoms do not have a perennial source of water.
*Canyons are most common in arid and semi-arid climates because bedrock weathers slowly in the absence of water.
*Erosion causes the structure of the Canyon walls.
-Bedrock results in a uniform Canyon wall.
-Layered rock results in an irregular or stair-stepped wall.
-Shale results in a gentle slope or bench-like wall.
-Sandstone & limestone result in a wall with steep cliffs.
*The Indus Gorge in the Himalayas is the deepest canyon in the world measuring 26,660’. The Grand Canyon measures 5,250’.
*The Valles Marineris Canyon system on Mars is over 2,485 miles long!
SOME COMMON TYPES OF CANYONS:
A). Slot Canyon:
*A Slot Canyon is a narrow, steep gorge that is deeper than it is wide. Many are no more than 3’ wide and some are as deep as 100’ or more.
*Slot Canyons are usually made of sandstone, limestone or basalt.
*Water trickling down into a crack in the earth’s surface over a long period of time is how a Slot Canyon is formed.
*There is usually a waterfall at the end of a trail through a Slot Canyon and is prone to flash flooding.
B). Plateau Canyon:
*Plateau Canyons are created by powerful, fast-moving rivers that, over time, cut into the river bottom.
*The harder the rock, the deeper the canyon. The softer the rock, the wider the canyon.
C). Box Canyon:
*A Box Canyon is a canyon with a flat base and 3 steep walls.
*A Box Canyon has only one entrance and exit point and is otherwise completely enclosed.
*A Box Canyon is usually more shallow that other types of canyons.
*Throughout time, Box Canyons have been used as corrals for livestock.
*A Box Canyon is generally formed by either sapping (a gradual deterioration by the seeping of water from an above surface) or by a mega-flood.
*The ocean floor also has canyons!
*Submarine canyons are cut into the ocean floor by currents.
*Most Submarine Canyons begin at a shore where a canyon river empties into the ocean.
Canyons can be found all over the U.S. but the largest and most impressive are in Region 9
Next time you have a chance to visit the Canyons, take time to learn, hike, enjoy, be in awe and just soak it in!