Trail of Time Snapshots Highlights of the Grand Canyon’s Geological History

The Grand Canyon is undoubtedly a gorgeous, breathtaking formation. Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year. However, anyone who knows anything about geology sees much more than a breathtaking view. Venturing down into the canyon provides an in-depth history of the Earth. It is a highly accessible marvel for geologic reference.

Yet, for those who are interested in geology, but do not wish to traverse the canyon, there is another option. The Trail of Time is an effigy, depicting the essence of what geologists have discovered.

This 1.3-mile trail, located on the South Rim, showcases an informational timeline of how the Earth evolved. Each meter equates to one-million years and at each significant stage in the Earth’s development, a rock is placed. These rocks prove the historical significance of the different eras and placards guides tourists through the stages.

This walk back in time starts with the rocks of today and takes visitors on a 1,840-million-year geological journey. This adventure ends with the oldest rock discovered in the Grand Canyon; the Elves Chasm gneiss.

Of course, if visitors prefer, they can also start at the end of the trail and work their way forward in time. If true chronology is what visitors seek, they may start the trail to the east of the Verkamp’s Visitor Center. When this is the chosen path, visitors will end their journey with the Kaibab Limestone. It sure does look good for its age. Even with having the title of being the newest rock at the Grand Canyon, it is still 270-million-years old.

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This rock was formed a little before the dinosaurs ruled the planet. Kaibab Limestone was formed in shallow, warm waters. Below it, there was another eleven generations of rocks previously formed. Considering that the Grand Canyon itself is only about six-million-years-old, this is an interesting peek into the past.

The Trail of Time was created about eight years ago and continues to be a popular attraction for tourists today. If nothing else, it is a solid reminder of the enormity of the Earth. The depth which the geological history of the planet has created is awe-inspiring. Therefore, the Grand Canyon is pleased to be able to provide such an interesting exhibit to visitors.