Geologists gather at the South Rim to study the Formation of the Canyon!

Did the Colorado River once run the other direction?



Back to Geology!

Backcountry Hiking!

"The public always wants to know how the Grand Canyon was formed and they don’t realize we don’t know either," Dr. Richard Young said Friday during a Grand Canyon-Colorado Plateau Geology Symposium, which was attended by more than 70 geologists. "The debate will go on for many years."

One thing the geologists do agree on is the Canyon’s age.

"I think there’s not much controversy about the youngness of the Canyon," Stephen Reynolds, a professor of geology at Arizona State University, "All agree that it’s been around six million years." Reynolds said some believe the Canyon has become deeper in just the last million years. "I think there’s a growing consensus that there has been some very recent deepening of the Canyon, maybe the last 1,580 feet in the last million years," Reynolds said.

Some geologists believe the Grand Canyon’s beginnings were associated with an ancestral river which flowed in the opposite direction than today’s Colorado River!

"It was fantastic. I learned how young some of the Canyon might be," Reynolds said. "I think there was more evidence for an older river. And there was more concern with that than I thought there would be."

George Billingsley, a noted geologists best known for his U.S. Geologicial Survey maps, thought it was a good experience as well. "It was very good," Billingsley said. "We all learned a heck of a lot but it also helps create more problems. But overall, we’re getting a handle on it. There’s much to be done."

In an effort to educate the public on theories involving the Grand Canyon’s formation, there will likely be a book about the symposium published by Grand Canyon Association.

Geology of Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona with Colorado River Guides: Lees ferry to Pierce Ferry, Arizona
A Field Trip Guidebook
by Donald Parker Elston (Editor), George H. Billingsley (Editor), Rich Young. You can bet anything with Billingsley's name on it is an excellent choice!
You can order Grand Canyon Geology books and hiking guides from:
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