Into The Canyon


BROADCAST DATE: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2004

Grand Canyon is considered the finest example of arid-land erosion in the world; however, it is more than that. A significant portion of Earth's history is revealed within the exposed rock layers of the canyon, five of the seven life zones in North America are represented within the park and it has been home to humans for nearly 10,000 years. Come explore some of the 1,217,403 acres of Grand Canyon National Park - hike into the canyon with Park Rangers, investigate fossils of animals that lived 270 million years ago, learn about the diversity of plants and animals that inhabit this semi-arid environment and explore the ruins of ancient inhabitants.

The Grand Canyon is one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world. It offers an excellent record of two of the four eras of geological time, a rich and diverse fossil record, a vast array of geologic features and rock types, and numerous caves containing extensive and significant geological, paleontological, archeological, and biological resources. The Canyon, incised by the Colorado River, is immense, averaging one mile deep for it's entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 18 miles wide at its widest. However, the signifcance of the Grand Canyon is not limited to its geology.

The Park's great biological diversity can be attributed to the presence of five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America. The Park also serves as an ecological refuge, with relatively undisturbed remnants of dwindling ecosystems (such as boreal forest and desert riparian communities). It is home to numerous rare, endemic (found only at Grand Canyon) and specially protected (threatened/endangered) plant and animal species. Over 1,500 plant, 373 bird, 91 mamalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park.

The Grand Canyon is culturally significant to the American Indians of the region and holds rich spiritual and historical importance. The distance learning journey will explore the Grand Canyon's geological, biological, and cultural stories.

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