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The Grand Canyon: How It Formed

The Grand Canyon: How It Formed

Today, in the deepest part of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River flows past rocks that are 1.7 billion years old. This video describes how the river cut vertically through layers of pre-existing rock as the plateau beneath it was uplifted by tectonic forces. It also explains that other forces worked to widen the canyon, particluarly the activity of tributary streams and debris flows caused by flash flooding from intense rainfall or rapid snowmelt moving loose rock and boulders down canyon walls and side channels. A background essay and list of discussion questions are also provided.


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