A few facts and figures about Grand Canyon:
- Is a chasm 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide
- Below Yavapai point is 2,400 feet above sea level, about 4,500 feet below the South Rim and 5,400 feet below the North Rim, for an average depth of about one mile
- Took 3-6 million years to form; erosion continues to alter its contours
- Includes approximately 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 types of reptiles, and five species of amphibians
- Was formed by the Colorado River, which flows west through the canyon and averages about 300 feet width, 100 feet in depth, and flows at an average speed of four miles per hour
Grand Canyon National Park
- Grand Canyon didn’t become a national park until 1919. Although the Grand Canyon may seem like an obvious choice for a national park, the first attempt to organize Grand Canyon as a national park was made in 1882, and it was shot down. In fact, the canyon didn’t become a national monument until 1908, and then it took 11 more years to finally establish it as a national park. The reason for the delay? Land and mining moguls who were concerned that the classification would restrict their access to the area.
- Covers an area of 1,900 square miles
- Is 190 miles long
- Contains some 277 miles of the Colorado River is populated by five Indian tribes: The Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Paiute, and Hualapai
Impress Your Friends With These Fun Facts!*
- We don't really know how old it is. It has long been believed that the Colorado River began carving Grand Canyon about 6 million years ago, but a 2012 study contained a real shocker, suggesting that the process may have begun as far back as 70 million years. In all likelihood, the Grand Canyon as we know it today started out as a series of smaller canyons 70 million years ago, but the majority of the canyon did not begin to take shape until much more recently.
- Grand Canyon creates its own weather! Of all Grand Canyon facts, this one is pretty cool – no pun intended. Sudden changes in elevation have an enormous impact on temperature and precipitation, so the weather you're experiencing could vary drastically depending on where you are in the Grand Canyon. The coldest, wettest weather station in the region is the Bright Angel Ranger Station on the North Rim, while the hottest (and one of the driest) is just 8 miles away at Phantom Ranch.
- There are no dinosaur bones in the canyon. Grand Canyon might look like the perfect place to go looking for dinosaur bones, but none have ever been found there, and for good reason. The rock that makes up the canyon walls is vastly more ancient than the dinosaurs – about a billion years more ancient, in some cases – but the canyon itself probably didn't form until after the dinosaurs were long gone.
- But there are lots of other fossils in the area. While the dinosaurs might have missed out on seeing the Grand Canyon, lots of other fossils have been found that suggest other creatures frequented the location. They range from ancient marine fossils dating back 1.2 billion years to fairly recent land mammals that left their remains in canyon caves about 10,000 years ago.
- There's a town down in the canyon. Lists of Grand Canyon facts don’t often include information about its human population, but surprisingly, it does have one. Supai Village is located at the base of Grand Canyon within the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Inaccessible by road and with a population of just 208, it is the most remote community in the lower 48 states, and is the only place where mail is still delivered by pack mule.
- We're missing 950 million years worth of rocks! Grand Canyon offers one of the most visible examples of a worldwide geological phenomenon known as the Great Unconformity, in which 250 million-year-old rock strata lie back-to-back with 1.2 billion-year-old rocks. What happened during the hundreds of millions of years between remains largely a mystery.
* NationalParks.org, July 26, 2016