Monday, November 07, 2016

Geology of the National Parks in Pictures - Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The next up on my Tour of the Geology of the National Parks in pictures is:


A random trip down to Colorado last year brought us to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. A park that perhaps is as magnificent a canyon as the Grand Canyon, although not nearly as wide. 

Unfortunately I seem to have not gotten a picture of the entrance sign (I know, I don't know how it slipped by me either). So we will just go on with the regular park pictures. I definitely recommend clicking on these to blow them up. We decided to camp at the park, however the park is very straightforward. One road in and through the park, that same road you turn around on and head out.

 View of the canyon along the Rim Rock Trail, between the campground and the visitor's center.

 A view down the canyon from up on the rim. The majority of the rocks that make up the canyon walls are Precambrian Gneiss. The reason that the canyon is so deep, it is believed, is because of a similar event that happened at the Grand Canyon. The land surface was pushed upwards quickly, causing more down cutting in a river that was already entrenched. However, since gneiss is much harder than the softer sedimentary rocks of the Grand Canyon, the canyon here was cut deeper with walls that ran more vertical. 

 A view of the canyon from the Visitor's Center area.

 Another view of the canyon. You can catch a slight glimpse of the river in the middle of the picture, emphasizing the depth of the canyon.

 Across the canyon. 


 This is the "Painted Wall". The pink veins are igneous intrusions that formed pink pegmatite within the overall gneiss. 


 Down the canyon walls. 


 More canyon views. 


Straight down. The walls really are near vertical in most areas of the canyon. 

Down the canyon.


And since I have no entrance sign photo, here is a shot of one of our camping companions, not wanting to get out of her tent.

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