The Grand Canyon of Arizona and the Grand Canyon of France have similarities and they have differences, both beautiful and both unique. Both are set aside for the enjoyment of people and both are for the protection of the natural world around us.
- Credit / Author:
- Lori Rome
- Date created:
Hi, I’m ranger Lori from Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, coming to you from the Grand Canyon of France. I’m here on a family holiday to visit what’s called the Grand Canyon of France. It’s in the Southwest part of the country and it’s called the Verdon Gorge. People come from all over the world to see canyons, to discover the beauty and the treasures that they hold. I’ve come here to discover what makes this canyon grand, so let’s go discover it.
Both canyons are amazing and very unique. Grand Canyon of Arizona is 277 miles long, it’s about 10 miles wide, and it can be 5 to 6,000 feet deep. The Grand Canyon of Verdon, here in France, can be 13 miles long, about 2,500 feet deep, and a mile wide, and you might even see griffon vultures flying.
Geologically, both canyons are beautiful and unique. Grand Canyon of Arizona is an old rock canyon, but the canyon itself is quite young. The rocks range in age from 1.8 billion years to 270 million years. All types of rock are found at Grand Canyon in Arizona, sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. All of those were uplifted into the air about 65 million years ago. And only 5 million years ago a murky, muddy, very red Colorado River carved right down through all the rock layers. So it’s old rock, it’s young canyon in Arizona. Here in France, at the Grand Canyon of the Verdon, it’s a different story. The rocks range in age from 240 million to about 145 million years. And most of it is limestone. Limestone is calcium carbonate, it’s shells, it forms at the bottom of an ocean. All of this was uplifted about 145 to 65 million years ago during the time that uplifted the Alps Mountains. And as it was rising, the river itself, the Verdon, a beautiful, clear, turquoise river, carves right down through it. So, geologically, both canyons are quite beautiful, similarities and differences.
No matter what country you’re in, hiking out of the Grand Canyon isn’t easy.
Both the Grand Canyon of Arizona and the Grand Canyon of France, Verdon, are unique in that they are very biologically diverse. The Grand Canyon of Arizona has over 1700 plant species making it one of the most biologically diverse parks in the United States. As far as wildlife goes, you can find everything from deer to bats to butterflies and when you look overhead you might even see and endangered reintroduced California Condor. Well, here at the Grand Canyon of France in Verdon, it’s also biologically diverse, from rim to river, you can find one third of all of France’s flora. And as far as wildlife goes, same thing. Well you can find deer to bats to butterflies and when you look up in the sky you might even see a reintroduced griffon vulture or who knows what you’ll find on the cliffs at the Grand Canyon of Verdon.
People have been drawn to canyons throughout time. At Grand Canyon there is evidence of human life that dates back 12,500 years in Arizona. That’s a long time for North America. And today about 4 and a half million visitors every year go to the Grand Canyon in Arizona to take in the scenery, to hike or to raft the river. Here, at the Grand Canyon of France in Verdon, human history dates back almost 400,000 years, that’s a long time. And about 200,000 people every year come to the Grand Canyon of France to take in the scenery, to raft the river, climb the cliffs, or hike on the trails.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the Grand Canyon of Arizona and the Grand Canyon of France are both beautiful indeed. They have similarities; they have differences, both beautiful and both unique. Grand Canyon in Arizona is set aside as a National Park and the Verdon of France is set aside as a Natural Regional Park. Both are for the enjoyment of people and both are for the protection of the natural world around us. I hope you get a chance to go out and discover the canyon’s of the world.
Lori Rome, Kevin Dowell
American Museum of Natural History, Claire Houck, Raymond Grelet…