Portal:Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a canyon created and carved by the Colorado River. The canyon is located in the state of Arizona in the United States. The canyon is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai people and the Navajo Nation. The canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and holds a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet). Approximately two billion years of the geological history of Earth have been revealed as the Colorado River alongside its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. The area was previously inhabited by Native Americans, but it was explored by people such as Spanish explorer García López de Cárdenas and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

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The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (the other being the Rio Grande). The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the ArizonaNevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.

Known for its dramatic canyons, whitewater rapids, and eleven U.S. National Parks, the Colorado River and its tributaries are a vital source of water for 40 million people. The river and its tributaries are controlled by an extensive system of dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts, which in most years divert its entire flow for agricultural irrigation and domestic water supply. Its large flow and steep gradient are used for generating hydroelectric power, and its major dams regulate peaking power demands in much of the Intermountain West. Intensive water consumption has dried up the lower 100 miles (160 km) of the river, which has rarely reached the sea since the 1960s.

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García López de Cárdenas y Figueroa was a Spanish conquistador who was the first European to see the Grand Canyon.

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Grand Canyon North.jpg
Credit: Hendric Stattmann

An aerial view over the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

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