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.
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.