Continental Drift – Grand Canyon Formation

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The incredible power of continental drift, not only builds mountains, it also sculpts one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks, the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, and at its deepest stretches down for over a mile. The gorge exposes the interior of the North American continent, layer upon layer of rock reveal the geological history of North America, from present day to two billion years ago.

250 million years ago the canyon starts to form as a result of a collision between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. They collide with such force that the North American plate thrusts more than 2 miles upward. What was once seabed rises over a period of 15 million years to form a vast plateau far above sea level. It stays that way for millions of years until transformed by water erosion.

Clip taken from the Naked Science documentary “Colliding Continents”.

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