The story of Black Canyon can be summed up in three words: grow, blow, and flow. About 60 million years ago, a small area of land uplifted (grow), bringing 1.8 billion year old metamorphic rock to high elevations. This is called the Gunnison Uplift. About 30 million years ago, large volcanoes erupted on either side of this uplift, burying it in volcanic rock (blow). Then, as early as 2 million years ago, the Gunnison River began flowing in force (flow). The river and time eroded all of the volcanic rock and cut a deep canyon in the metamorphic rock below. What you see today is a deep, steep, and narrow canyon: the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Building Black CanyonHow long did it take to construct Black Canyon? What are the materials and forces that caused it to form?
How far down to the river is it? How do we compare to other canyons?
The Geologic Story
"Page" through the in-depth story of Black Canyon.
What is that pink rock? How does it compare to the black?
Last updated: April 8, 2022