How Was the Grand Canyon Formed? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Welcome to the Grand Canyon!
  • 0:50 The Rocks
  • 1:20 The Power of Water
  • 1:50 How Long Did it Take?
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

The majestic Grand Canyon was carved from the rocks in Northeastern Arizona. Scientists are learning more about this area and have found it may be even older than they thought! Read this lesson to find out more about this giant formation.

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!

A canyon is basically a gigantic valley or gorge in the Earth's surface. That may not sound too exciting, but the 277-mile long Grand Canyon stuns millions of visitors every year with its beauty and sheer size.

This natural wonder, located in Northeastern Arizona, is one of the most famous natural formations in the world, and it's easy to see why. You can stand at the rim and admire the colorful layers of rock descending to the Colorado River, which is at the bottom. You can also travel down to the river itself and raft along its thrilling rapids. Scientists study the river and rocks to piece together the Grand Canyon's history. How was it formed? Although there are many questions to answer, scientists have outlined some of the major evidence.

The Rocks

Over a billion years ago, what is now the Grand Canyon was underwater. It was covered by an ancient ocean that was home to numerous prehistoric animals. Tiny pieces of rocks and soil called sediment were deposited in layers, along with volcanic rocks. As the Earth's surface moved and shifted, these rock layers were pushed up, forming mountains. Once these rocks were exposed to the elements, they were subject to erosion, which is a gradual wearing away over time.

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