Geologic Story

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Duration:
12 minutes, 34 seconds

This film gives an overview of the geological forces that shaped the canyon as it is seen today.

 
Bighorn Canyon Strata Column
Bighorn Canyon Strata Column

NPS

A Story of Change

Geology is the study of the Earth, its various landforms, rocks, and what has happened to them throughout the history of the planet. That’s a lot of history considering the Earth is four and a half billion years old. Much has been going on from rock formation, mountain building and erosion to volcanoes, asteroid impacts and plant and animal evolution. Sometimes many different processes are occurring and sometimes distinctly more of one than another. In any case, what we know comes from studying the rocks.

Our mountains and canyons are not forever. In the Bighorn Canyon and Bighorn Mountains we have basically had thousands of feet of sedimentary rocks form on top of an even older basement complex of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Those rocks were uplifted to form the Bighorn Mountains. The subsequent erosion carved the Bighorn Canyon. While the mountains and canyons will change very little during our lifetime, their lifetime of millions and millions of years is essentially a story of change.

Last updated: June 4, 2017

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Mailing Address:

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Headquarters Office
PO Box 7458

Fort Smith, MT 59035

Phone:

(307) 548-5406

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