Introduction The Grand Canyon’s Geological Cross Section consists of the the south rim geology and the formation of the Colorado river. This Geological attraction will be examined to see if the rock layers that have been showing up these past years are beneficial to the arrangement of the Grand Canyon.
The point to find out is why the Grand Canyon is significant to our country and if the split matters in our course of subject. The discussion will involve all different rock layers and their importance, how our environment affects the formation of the cross section, and lastly, how the Colorado river went down a certain path to form this canyon. Finding out if the cross section was a good or bad thing is vitally important in research. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado river is a world known place of geology. Geologic evolution through time can be studied through the changes between different rock layers. This paper will examine how our environment affects rock formation and how the Colorado river chose this course and began craving the canyon.
Rock Layers The Grand Canyon consists of many different rock layers. Rock layers such as: Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic rocks, and etc. Rocks are continuously changing. Wind and water brings some down, and some rocks deep beneath the surface are being melted to the melting point. Movements can exert heat and pressure on to the rocks, this will affects all the characteristics of the rocks.
As we can tell, rocks come in all different forms and shapes. Geologists have split up the rocks into three different groups as stated above. These three groups of rocks can be found today at the Grand Canyon. Igneous rocks are formed by melted rocks that have cooled down and became solid. The magma chamber allows buried rocks that are stuck down in the earth’s crust to melt because of the high temperatures forming an underground mass of molten rock.
The magma that is present can perform a volcanic eruption or it can be cooled slowly underground. This way we won’t be seeing any form of eruption. Next, the igneous rock forms when the magma is cooled down to the lowest layer and we see large crystals formed from the molten liquid, and then the rock granite is formed. When the magma is explodes onto the earth’s surface, the molten rock moves quickly. This cooling does not give enough time for the crystals to form, therefore, the crystals this time around are small and a fine grained rock, Basalt is formed.
Basalt is know as a volcanic rock. Sedimentary rocks are formed a the surface of earth, either by land or water. This rock is sometimes found more frequently than the others.
They are layers of sediments which include: fragments of rocks, minerals, and animal/plant material. If a certain layer of sediment is buried beneath a rock, the layer will then become compacted and form this sedimentary rocks. The sediment comes together by the formation of minerals and chemicals. It can also come together as an electrical attraction. Sand and gravel we find on the beach may become this type of conglomerate. It happens often. Dried out mud flats harden into shale. Mud and shell settling on sea floors may be cemented into limestones.
As we can see, so many different formation of rocks can appear within these three categorical groups. Metamorphic rocks are formed only when Igneous and Sedimentary rocks cannot take a certain pressure of heat and they are too intense for them. This way they are then completely changed. The process of metamorphism transforms and organizes their crystalline structure. New minerals are formed by rearrangement of mineral components or by different reactions that enter the rock right away. As we can see, pressure or change of some kind may influence metamorphosed rocks into new types of metamorphic rocks. Finally, young rocks are always piled over older rocks. The study of the sequence of these rock layers is our main source of knowledge about earth’s history.
This includes the evolution of life and changes that appear in our climate. We see that with moisture in the air and humidity in the air, climate is affected. This goes hand in hand to affect our rock layers in the Grand Canyon as well. Environment effect (fossil fuels) on rock layers Rock layers that are formed in the Grand Canyon have an effect that connects with fossils. The canyon contains rock formations that we discussed above with the effect on them which is hidden.
Those are the fossil fuels that are hundreds of million years old. Fossils are the preserved remains of ancient life a while back such as bones, teeth, wood, etc. The sedimentary rock that was stated as the most appeared in the Grand Canyon contains fossils because it was built layer upon layer. This trapped animal footprints so they can easily be looked upon. The effect that we see between the two is that if all goes right, the fossils are formed as the layers of sediment turn into pure rock. There are three types of fossils that will be discussed, such as: Marine Fossils, Terrestrial Fossils, and Recent Fossils. Marine fossils are found to be creating many of the sedimentary rock layers in the canyon over the past 525 million years.
These types of fossils are quite common. Similar fossils can be found in most of the marine based rocks in the grand canyon. One type of Marine fossil is the Stromatolites. Stromatolites are the oldest fossils in the Grand Canyon and are about 1,200 million to 740 million years old. They are the limestone structures formed by bacteria called cyanobacteria. In the canyon, this created alternating slimy bacteria and sediment in extremely shallow water, dominating shallow seas until predators came into action. Today stromatolites are only present in a shallow ocean areas with high salinity.
The salinity discourages predation and allows the stromatolites to survive. This way some progress will be made. Terrestrial fossils are the mudstones and siltstones of the Hermit Shale and Supai group which were laid out by a system of rivers and streams in a semi climate about 280 million years ago. The sand grains of the Coconino Sandstone were affected by wind across large coast sand dunes about 275 million years ago. Each of these layers has significant trace fossils and environmental features preserved in the rock. The Surprise Canyon Formation may be the most fossil intended location with wood and bone fragments as just a few examples of fossils found. Within the dunes of sand of the Coconino Sandstone, tracks of ancient animals and the most common fossils found.
No tracks have been found. Although, with the creation of scorpions, millipedes, spiders, and etc. they passed over these dunes. The footprints tell us the story of them traveling up and down from the dunes. It can go from them dragging their tail to even if it had an upright posture or what not. Recent fossils are found in semi climate and cool temperatures deep within canyon caves and have combined to create a perfect environment for preservation. Pleistocene and Holocene remains have been discovered and unraveled within many of these caves, including 11,000 year old sloth bones, hair, California condor bones, egg shell fragments, and pack rat middens.
These recent remains help us to understand more up to date environmental conditions and climate change conditions that affected the plant and animal communities within Grand Canyon. As we can see, fossils fuels are the product that are hidden underneath these rocks and they are the ones to have the effect on the Grand Canyon Cross Section.Colorado River Path and formation of Canyon The Colorado River has carved the Grand Canyon into four plateaus of the Colorado Plateau Province. The Province is a large area in the Southwest characterized by horizontal sedimentary rocks which are 5,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level. The Plateau’s arid climate let out many striking forms of soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on earth’s crust and then transported into another way, culminating in the Grand Canyon.
The Canyon’s mile-high walls display a undisturbed cross section of the Earth’s crust extending back some 2 billion years. Originally deposited as sediments and lava flows, these rocks were intensely metamorphosed about 1,750 million years ago. Magma rose into the rocks, cooling and crystallizing into granite, and pushed together the region to the North American continent.
Rock layers formed during the Paleozoic Era are the most significant in the Grand Canyon’s walls. Coast environments and several marine coastlines from the west between 550 and 250 million years ago deposited sandstone, shale and limestone layers totaling 2,400 to 5,000 feet thick. Erosion has removed most Mesozoic Era evidence from the Park, although small remnants can be found, particularly in the western Grand Canyon. This is a very fascinating feature because we do not see much today as to when the Grand Canyon first formed. Nearby rock suggest 4,000 to 8,000 feet of sedimentary layers from millions of years ago which once covered the Grand Canyon area. Cenozoic Era layers are limited to the western Grand Canyon and lie near the river itself. A few sedimentary releases formed in lake beds, but the most spectacular recent ones are the lava flows and cinder cones on the Shivwits and Uinkaret plateaus.
Spectacular lava cascades down the Canyon walls have helped date the Grand Canyon’s carving. The Grand Canyon itself is a late Cenozoic feature, characteristic of renewed subtractions of soil, rock , or dissolved material than was once their and then transported during this time. Heavy in detail cutting by the snow-fed Colorado River carved the Canyon’s depth.
This gave the Canyon such a large size and length as well. Canyon is held in check by the region’s dry climate. The climate up in the canyon is usually always hot and humid, which is why this canyon is such a large monument in our universe today. The asymmetry between fast cutting and slow widening results in the Grand Canyon rather than having a more typical broad river valley.
This is why we see so many cool and magnificent pictures from the canyon. Although violent storms may send flash floods racing down narrow side canyons, the lack of moisture has created a severe landscape of mostly naked rock. Harder, resistant rocks such as the Coconino Sandstone and the Redwall Limestone have eroded into bold cliffs. Softer layers melt into slopes like the Tonto Platform and the Hermit Shale. This ties in again with the formation of the rocks within the canyon.Conclusion For the above discussion, geological roles play an essential part in our earth today.
The Grand Canyon of the Colorado river is a world known place of geology. Geologic evolution through time can be studied through the changes between different rock layers. The Grand Canyon examination on how our environment affects rock formation and how the Colorado river chose this course and began craving the canyon was the ultimate goal in our research. Overall, the Grand Canyon is an exceptional feature in today’s geography, and therefore the discovery of old and new will continue to appear in our world today. The conditions of the site today will always determine the outcome of what will happen next within the Grand Canyon, and this will all depend on the three factors discussed in this paper; rock layers, environment affect (fossil fuels) on rock layers, and the Colorado river path and the formation of the canyon.