Geology of the Grand Canyon

The National Park is one of the most diverse and heavily studied places on earth for its geological uniqueness and amazing formations.

How the Grand Canyon Was Created
The Canyon itself was carved by the Colorado River and the wind that caused the surface of the sedimentary rocks to become exposed and erode over time.

  • The erosion of the Grand Canyon by winds, rains and the amazing strength of the Colorado River created the marvelous views and exposed magnificent caves.

This reaction of land to the weather over many, many years allowed mankind to create living spaces and permitted various plants and animals a place to live and survive and flourish.

Ways to Witness & Learn About the Geology of the Grand Canyon

  • Guided sightseeing tours of the Grand Canyon allow visitors to revel in the splendor of the awesome vistas and plateaus surrounding the Park’s 277 miles of land.
  • The Visitor Center of Arizona enjoys Bus Tours, Helicopter Tours, Hiking Tours and more as visitors come to experience the adventures of the Park.
  • Bookstores and the Store offer books to help learn about the geology of the Canyon.
  • Purchase a Hiking Guide in one of the Shops or talk to one of the Rangers about your Hike.

What’s in the Rocks & Ground of the Grand Canyon
The geological formations created over millions of years contain precious metals and minerals and hold historical data about how the Earth was formed.  A variety of stone and rocks are found within the Canyon as well as minerals – and both have been mined from the Park at various times in history.

Rocks Found in the Grand Canyon Include:

  • Quartz
  • Calcite
  • Clay
  • Gypsum
  • Dolomite
  • Hematite
  • Feldspar
  • Augite
  • Biotite
  • And more…

Minerals Found in the Canyon:

  • Copper
  • Silver
  • Uranium

Check these pages on the Visitor Center Site to learn more while online:

Grand Canyon hiking tours can take visitors on a trip that will help them understand just exactly how important and significant the monumental park is – and why so many Archeologists and Scientists have spent years studying the sediments, caves and geological history of the Canyon.

Impressive colors, variations of rock outcroppings and steep cliffs are only a small part of the entire Grand Canyon Experience available to adventurers – amazing geology and historical information can inspire and educate the youngest minds.

Why People Come Back Again & Again

  • While you can take one day to tour the Grand Canyon, most people come back to experience the breathtaking beauty time after time.
  • Many families have designated the Grand Canyon as their favorite vacation experience; returning again and again, just so they can learn more each time they visit.
  • Children as well as adults love learning about the rocks that are formed in the Park and imaginations expand as they learn about how the Grand Canyon was formed.

Where People Visit the Canyon From
With a variety of adventures, tours and sights to see, the Grand Canyon Visitor Center IMAX of Arizona enjoys visitors from all around the world and from as close as Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California.  Even residents of Arizona regularly visit the center and enjoy the things to do at the Grand Canyon that the Visitor Center of Arizona can provide to them.

Once the visitors have enjoyed their guided tour, the Visitor Center of Arizona can also provide refreshments in the Explorer’s Café or they can enjoy one of the many activities available to them – or they can watch The Grand Canyon Movie – in our state of the art IMAX® theater or even shop in our Brand Merchandise Store for Hiking

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