Arizona’s Natural Wonder – The Grand Canyon
We live in the White Mountains of Arizona, which is just about 4.5 hours from the amazing wonder of the world, called the “Grand Canyon”. I had never been there before we moved to Arizona, and we finally decided to take a trip back in 2006, to meet my in-laws for a weekend of camping, and to see this glorious wonder!! The day was amazing, the colors were some I’ve never seen before, and I loved how the wildlife just made itself at home. I put this basic slideshow together of some of the amazing pictures of that day:
We had visited the South Rim on that trip, and I have it on my bucket list to go to the North Rim to see what it’s like on that side, one day. I’ve heard that it’s a very different type of view, and being able to hopefully stay at the amazing Grand Canyon Lodge would be a dream!
We were able to go there again, about a year ago with Russ Miller as our tour guide, on one of his Grand Canyon tours. We learned so many new things ,about this awesome work of God on nature. It was kind of a dreary day, when we went there and it was amazing to look out on the canyon, and have it filled with fog. What a different type of view. When the clouds came in, and the lightning was getting close, some of us girls had hair that was standing straight up, so we decided to get back on the bus, so that we didn’t get to know the lightning a bit too well!
With the weather taking a turn for the worse, we didn’t get to do the hike that is usually associated with the trip. Might have been a good thing for me, not sure if I could have made it!! :/ We were able to learn some great biblical insight though, and got to see what is called “Creation Rock”, the “Judgment Layers” and other evidence of the “Global Flood”, and rapid formation of the Grand Canyon. We also were able to see fact after fact proclamation of the Truth of the Bible, and how this amazing wonder was created.
Here are some of the photos that I took from that trip:
About the “Grand Canyon”
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States in the Colorado River basin. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
The Grand Canyon is around 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and has a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet). For many years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon (“Ongtupqa” in the Hopi language) a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it.
Temperatures on the North Rim are generally lower than those on the South Rim because of the greater elevation (averaging 8,000 ft above sea level). Heavy rains are common on both rims during the summer months. Access to the North Rim via the primary route leading to the canyon (State Route 67) is limited during the winter season due to road closures.
Unlike what is taught in the school books and by the tour guides, the Grand Canyon does not speak of millions of years of formation; and it clearly testifies of rapid formation.
The scenic grandeur of Grand Canyon stirs awe-inspired emotion in the millions of visitors who make their way every year to northwestern Arizona. Hardly anything else in the world gives such insight into the geologic timescale of the earth better than this “hole in the ground.” And no other natural wonder causes more contention either.
Layer after layer of exposed strata provide a spectacular sight for each Canyon guest. The lowest and first of the four major divisions of rock units is made up of many types of granite, including the Zoroaster Granite, and the Granite Gorge Metamorphic Suite, which includes the Vishnu Schist, forming the crystalline basement of igneous and metamorphic rocks, respectively. Directly above them is the second major division, which is called the “Grand Canyon Super Group”, it has tilted layers of strata showing evidence of tectonic activity. The third major division contains horizontally stratified layers in the walls of the Canyon made up of sedimentary deposits in nine distinct layers. The fourth major division includes very localized strata which were deposited on the erosion surface on top of the Kaibab Plateau, and consist of river gravels, lake sediments, landslide deposits, and lava flows. Throughout many of the layers exposed in the walls of Grand Canyon, one can find fossils of marine organisms such as brachiopods, corals and mollusks, as well as sometimes the fossilized footprints and track-ways of amphibians and reptiles, ferns, and other plants. Many of these show evidence of a rapid burial.
Evidence of Noah’s Flood in the Grand Canyon
One of the more obvious formations in the Grand Canyon is the Coconino Sandstone. This prominent formation is found only a few hundred feet below the rim of the canyon and forms one of the many cliffs in the canyon. Its distinctive yellow cream color makes it look like a thick layer of icing between two cake layers.
Evolutionary geologists have described this sandstone as originating from an ancient desert. Remnants of sand dunes can be seen in many outcrops of the formation in a phenomenon called cross-bedding. There are many footprints found in this sandstone that have been interpreted as lizards scurrying across the desert.
These footprints would seem to pose a major challenge to young- earth geologists who need to explain this formation in the context of Noah’s flood. Since there are many flood-associated layers both above and below this sandstone, there is no time for a desert to form in the middle of Noah’s flood. Recent investigations, however, have revealed that the cross-bedding can be due to underwater sand dunes and that some footprints are actually better explained by amphibians moving across sandy-bottomed shallow water. Perhaps this formation can be explained by sand deposited under water.
This explanation does not entirely solve the young-earth geologists’ problem, because it is still difficult to determine where the amphibians came from and how they could be crawling around in shallow waters on top of sediments that would have to be deposited halfway through a world-wide catastrophic flood. But let’s go on to another flood evidence. Earlier, I mentioned the Great Unconformity. This can be observed throughout the Grand Canyon where the Tapeats Sandstone, a Cambrian formation estimated to be 570 million years old, rests on top of any one of a number of Precambrian strata ranging from one to two billion years old.
Our group observed a location in the nonconformity where the time gap between the two layers is estimated to be one billion years. It is very unusual, even for evolutionary geology, for two layers from periods so far apart, in this case one billion years, to be right on top of one another. It is hard to imagine that no sediments were deposited in this region for over a billion years! Evolutionary geologists believe that the upper sandstone was deposited over hundreds of thousands of years in a marine environment. However, we observed large rocks and boulders from a neighboring formation mixed into the bottom few feet of the Tapeats Sandstone. This indicates tremendous wave violence capable of tearing off these large rocks and transporting them over a mile before being buried. This surely fits the description of a flood rather than slow deposition. We spent nearly two hours at this location and we were all quite impressed with the clear evidence of catastrophic origin of the Tapeats Sandstone.
That the Coconino Sandstone likely had a water-deposited origin and that the Tapeats Sandstone was laid down in a great cataclysm are necessary elements for a young-earth flood geology scenario for the Grand Canyon.
The Erosion and Formation of the Grand Canyon
Perhaps one of the most interesting questions about the Grand Canyon is how it was cut out of rock in the first place. The answer to this question has a lot to do with how old the canyon is supposed to be. The puzzling factor about the Grand Canyon is that the Colorado River cuts directly through an uplifted region called the Kaibab Upwarp. Normally a river would be expected to flow towards lower elevation, but the Colorado has cut right through an elevated region rather than going around it.
The explanation you will still find in the National Park literature is that the Colorado began to cut the Grand Canyon as much as 70 million years ago, before the region was lifted up. As the uplift occurred, the Colorado maintained its level by cutting through the rock layers as they were lifted up. Thus the Grand Canyon was cut slowly over 70 million years! In recent years, however, evolutionary geologists as well as old-earth creationists have abandoned this scenario because it just isn’t supported by the evidence. A major reason is that even at the present rate of erosion in the Grand Canyon, it would take as little as 71,000 years to erode the amount of rock currently missing from the Grand Canyon. Also, all of the sediment that would have to be eroded away during 70 million years has not been located. And lastly, evolutionists’ own radiometric dates of some of the surrounding formations indicate that the Colorado River has been in its present location for less than five million years.
Some old-earth geologists have tentatively adopted a new theory that requires a few rather strange twists. This theory suggests that the Colorado River flowed through the area of the Grand Canyon only recently. The Colorado originally was forced in the opposite direction of its current flow by the Kaibab Upwarp and actually flowed southeast toward the Gulf of Mexico. This ancestral Colorado River may have occupied the course of what is now the Little Colorado River, only in the opposite direction of its current course.
This theory further suggests that about five million years ago a westward-flowing stream began to erode, upstream or towards the east, over what is today the Grand Canyon, through the Upwarp and capturing the ancestral Colorado River! If this sounds a little fantastic to you, you’re probably right. In a recent volume on the Grand Canyon, a geologist, while maintaining this theory to be solid, admits a lack of hard data and that what evidence there is, is circumstantial. Into this controversy step the young-earth creationists, who need to explain how the Grand Canyon was formed, strata and all, in less than 5,000 years. They suggest, quite reasonably I think, that the canyon was formed when the Kaibab Upwarp acted as a dam for three lakes occupying much of Utah, Colorado, and northern Arizona. These lakes catastrophically broke through the Upwarp, and the Grand Canyon was cut out of solid rock by the drainage of these lakes through this breach in the dam. A small canyon was formed this way recently as a result of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Grand Coulee in Washington state was formed when an ice dam broke at the end of the Ice Age. This breached-dam theory answers a lot of questions the old-earth theories do not, and it needs to be considered.
Evolutionary explanation: The evolutionary explanation of the Canyon’s formation begins many years ago—in fact, billions of years ago. Basement rocks in Grand Canyon are metamorphic rocks seen as remains of a variety of sediments and volcanic rocks deposited nearly two billion years ago. After granite intrusion episodes, and erosion beginning about 1.5 billion years ago, the whole region was under water. Over hundreds of millions of years, sedimentary and basalt layers were formed. Uplift, tilting and massive erosion followed, before about 550 million years ago the ocean waters moved in and covered the land again to deposit more sediment layers and then retreated. Repeated inundations built up over a mile (1.6 km) of sedimentary rocks in horizontal layers. About 70 million years ago the Colorado Plateau was uplifted, and since then the Colorado River began flowing across the plateau, threading its way and slowly carving its path into all the previously formed rock layers until it reached its present course, millions of years later. Annual seasonal floods in its drainage basin supposedly increased the momentum and volume of water flow, picking up rocks and other debris which tore away at the river’s bottom to eventually carve out the Grand Canyon.
Biblical explanation: The biblical explanation for how the Canyon formed is actually quite simple. The “basement” layers, consisting of granites and metamorphic rocks, were formed by Day 3 of Creation Week. Some sedimentary layers were deposited on these rocks late in the Creation Week and during the pre-Flood period. The horizontal sedimentary layers were then deposited over all other rocks by the waters of the global Flood as described in Genesis 7-8. These unhindered, swirling currents picked up, transported and eventually deposited tons of sedimentary layers. These strata were then in places tilted and went through great tectonic activity as the Colorado Plateau was uplifted during the final stages of the Flood. The sedimentary layers which make up the nine distinct layers of the third major division of the Canyon walls show that they were soft and unconsolidated when they bent, unlike the basement rocks which fractured. The sand grains in these sedimentary layers show no evidence that the material was brittle and rock-hard, and neither has the mineral cementing the grains been broken. Instead, the evidence points to the whole 4,000-feet (1.220 m) thickness of horizontal strata being still “plastic” when it was uplifted and bent. Once the floodwaters receded, the recently placed layers of sediment continued to harden into rock. As the floodwaters receded, the uplifted plateau acted like a dam wall, trapping the waters behind it. In a subsequent catastrophic event, this earthen dam ruptured, releasing a barrage of water that carved the Canyon itself.
Dating of the Canyon
Evolutionary view: As evolutionary geologists have studied Grand Canyon, many rock samples have been taken to recognized laboratories in attempts to date these rocks. The main method used in these studies is the radioisotope dating method, which is based on the rate of decay of radioactive isotopes. However, it is important to realize that the results of such tests yield only relative amounts of the parent and daughter isotopes, not an actual “age”—it is from these measurements that an “age” is calculated. Because all such age-dating methods are based on assumptions, these methods tend to be unreliable. It has been shown many times that samples taken from the same rocks produce different dates! Additionally, tests on rocks of known age have yielded false results. Many times scientists overlook these “incorrect” dates in order to fit them into their presuppositions about the earth’s age.
Biblical view: Since the Bible says that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, Grand Canyon could not have formed millions of years ago. The layers, fossils and other natural wonders of Grand Canyon confirm that the earth was transformed from its original state by a world-altering catastrophe and its after-effects. That catastrophe was the global Flood as recorded in Scripture.
Consider it: Grand Canyon cuts through the landscape of northern Arizona as no other natural feature on Earth. It also cuts through the shaky foundation of evolutionary interpretations that are given to each of the Canyon’s layers. Grand Canyon does not speak of millions of years of formation; it clearly testifies of rapid formation by a land-transforming catastrophe and its after-effects. The fossils entombed in the sediments of the Canyon also remind us of God’s judgment on sin and of the salvation He offers.
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Disclaimer: I, Jamie Tomkins, own and operate TigerStrypes Blog located at www.tigerstrypes.com. From time to time you’ll hear about my real life experiences with different places, as well as products and/or services from companies and individuals. Let it be known that I have no affiliation with these said places, or companies, and have not received compensation for talking about the topic. The information that I give regarding the place/product/service is based off my own personal experience; I do not guarantee that your experience will be the same.