This nOde last updated August 12th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
(4 Imix (Water Lily) / 9 Yax'kin (New Sun) - 121/260 - 184.108.40.206.1)
Grand Canyon, exceptionally deep, steep-walled canyon in northwestern Arizona, excavated by the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is about 446 km (about 277 mi) long, up to 29 km (18 mi) wide, and more than 1500 m (more than 5000 ft) deep. The entire canyon is extremely beautiful, containing towering buttes, mesas, and valleys within its main gorge. The Grand Canyon cuts steeply through an arid, sharply eroded plateau region. The plateau area has a general downward slope to the southwest and in its upper reaches is sparsely covered with such evergreens as juniper and piñon. Parts of the northern rim of the canyon are forested. Vegetation in the depths of the valley consists principally of desert vegetation. The Grand Canyon has been sculpted in general by the downward cutting of the Colorado River, which flows through the canyon's lowest portions.
The Grand Canyon is of relatively recent geological origin; apparently the river began its work of erosion about six million years ago. Although the canyon itself is of comparatively recent origin, the rocks exposed in its walls are not. Most of the strata were originally deposited as marine sediment. In a typical section of the canyon, separate rock layers can be seen piled vertically like a stack of pancakes. At the bottom of the canyon are the most ancient rocks of all, Precambrian schists and gneisses, from half a billion to a billion years old.
The first Europeans to see the canyon were members of a group headed by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, which set out from New Spain (now Mexico) in 1540. Beginning about 1850, a series of expeditions commanded by officers of the United States Army surveyed the canyon and the surrounding area. The construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona in 1963 dramatically reduced the natural flow of sand and nutrients down the Colorado River and into the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park, in northern Arizona, established as a national monument in 1908 and as a national park in 1919. The park, 4930.6 sq km (1903.7 sq mi) in area, contains the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and includes the river's entire course from the southern end of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the eastern boundary of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The great chasm is more than 1500 m (more than 5000 ft) deep. Paved roads wind around the Grand Canyon's rims, and trails descend into the canyon. The extreme variations in elevation from the depths of the canyon to the northern rim have produced four distinct zones of climate and plant life.
I've been trying to track down any
later info, but haven't had much luck. Interestingly, the area below the
North Rim has many Egyptian
names. Around Ninety-four Mile Creek and Trinity Creek are geologic formations
with names like Tower of Set, Tower of Ra, Horus
Temple, and Isis
Temple. In the Haunted Canyon area are Cheops Pyramid,
the Buddha Cloister, Buddha Temple, Manu Temple and Shiva
Temple. I've also heard that this part of the Canyon is off-limits to
hikers because of "dangerous caves". This is unverified.
State archaeologist at the Grand Canyon insist that the early explorers had just liked Egyptian and Hindu names, but that it was true that this area was off limits to hikers or other visitors, "because of dangerous caves."
Indeed, this entire
area with the Egyptian and Hindu place names in the Grand Canyon is a forbidden
zone - no one is allowed into this large area.
Today, this area is curiously off-limits to all hikers and even, in large
part, park personnel.
The southwest's most intriguing
natives, the Hopi,
have always claimed that their sipapu (place of emergence from the underworld)
is in the Grand Canyon. They say their ancestors went underground to live
with "the ant people" when the great flood wiped out the last world. Later,
they emerged through the sipapu to begin their lives and migrations in the present
world. The many circular kivas
found in Anasazi
ruins are said to be symbolic of this emergence, i.e. underground ceremonial
chambers with a roof entrance/exit, still called the sipapu.