The South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona
In May I spent two days at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and this is one of many photos I took while there. We stayed at the historic El Tovar Hotel, situated just along the rim - what a great location! I hadn't been to the Grand Canyon in 15 years and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the breath-taking landscapes once again. In this photo the rock formation almost looks like a miniature "Spinx" in Egypt.
INFORMATION ON THE GRAND CANYON:
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park — one of the first national parks in the United States. 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.
Longstanding scientific consensus has been that the canyon was created by the Colorado River over a six million year period. The canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6.4 to 29 km) and attains a depth of over a mile (1.83 km) (6000 feet). Nearly two billion years of the 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. The canyon began in the west, followed by another that formed in the east. Eventually, the two broke through and met as a single majestic rent in the earth some six million years ago. The merger apparently occurred where the river today bends to the west, in the area known as the Kaibab Arch.
Before European immigration, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon ("Ongtupqa" in Hopi language) a holy site and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
The Grand Canyon is a massive rift in the Colorado Plateau that exposes uplifted Proterozoic and Paleozoic strata, and is also one of the six distinct physiographic sections of the Colorado Plateau province. The Grand Canyon is unmatched throughout the world for the vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. It is not the deepest canyon in the world — Cotahuasi Canyon (11598 feet or 3535 m) and Colca Canyon (10499 feet or 3200 m), both in Arequipa, Peru, and Hells Canyon (7,993 feet or 2436 m) on the Oregon-Idaho border, are all deeper — but Grand Canyon is known for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Geologically it is significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. These rock layers record much of the early geologic history of the North American continent.
About 600 deaths have occurred in the Grand Canyon since the 1870s. Some of these deaths occurred as the result of overly zealous photographic endeavors, some were the result of airplane collisions within the canyon, and some visitors drowned in the Colorado River. Many hikers overestimate their fitness level, become dehydrated and confused, and must be rescued. The Park Service now posts a picture of an attractive and fit young man at several trailheads with the caption "Every year we rescue hundreds of people from the Canyon. Most of them look like him", in an attempt to discourage hikers from feats which are beyond their abilities.
According to Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, 50 fatalities have resulted from falls; 65 deaths were attributable to environmental causes, including heat stroke, cardiac arrest, dehydration, and hypothermia; 7 were caught in flash floods; 79 were drowned in the Colorado River; 242 perished in airplane and helicopter crashes (128 of them in the 1956 disaster mentioned below); 25 died in freak errors and accidents, including lightning strikes and rock falls; 47 committed suicide; and 23 were the victims of homicides.