This is not the red rock sandstone of the desert southwest, but the sand and clay of Georgia. The canyons of Providence Canyon State Park did not form over millions of years like the canyons of the southwest, but over the course of a hundred years.
When the early 19th century settlers cleared the area for farming, perhaps unaccustomed to farming on slopes, they ran their rows up/downhill. The furrows of their fields made for perfect drainage channels, helping water running downhill to cut through the top clay layer to the soft sand layer below and setting off a rapid erosion process. Within 50 years, the cuts were 3-6 feet deep and within 100 years the land was useless for farming.
The sand of Providence Canyon was laid down 65-70 million years ago when seas were higher and this area was likely a chain of barrier islands. The sand was protected from erosion by a layer of clay laid down 55-65 million years ago. Iron content in the clay contributes to both the red colors of the sand as well as an iron-rich layer between the clay and sand. Look for iron nodules in the runoff from the canyon edge.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.