Tomichi Point, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, USA

Over two million years the Gunnison river has slowly cut down through the very old, very hard rock of the Gunnison uplift.  And by old, I mean old, 1-2 billion years old - so old and from so deep in the crust it is called basement rock, part of the foundation rock that formed the original continental plates we all "float" around on.  Because of the hardness of the rock, the Gunnison river has had a difficult time carving the canyon, cutting 2700 feet or so in 2 million years, or a slow foot per 1000 years.  The hardness of the rock, schist and gneiss, accounts for the sheer cliffs of the narrow deep canyon.  Compare this with the miles wide Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado river through much softer sedimentary rock.

Copyright: John roberts
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 18648x9324
Uploaded: 15/06/2013
Updated: 10/06/2014


Tags: canyons; geology; mountains; outdoor recreation; overlooks; public lands; rivers
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