Rock Slide Grand Canyon National Park Rafting

One of the most interesting things I learned while river rafting down the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park is that much of the Grand Canyon sandstone isn’t originally red. When you look from the rim of the Grand Canyon down toward the river and see the huge expanse of red sandstone walls, it isn’t difficult to assume that all that color is the original color of the canyon walls. In reality, much of the lower Grand Canyon walls that are red in appearance have simply been stained on the outside by upper layers of the canyon that are red. A perfect illustration of this is the scar left by a recent rock slide within the Grand Canyon we came across after leaving Redwall Cavern:

Grand Canyon rock slide Colorado River rafting

As the rock slide shows, the color of the rock is actually white and not the red of the surrounding rock that has been stained over time. Of course, this newly exposed rock will also eventually get stained to the red we all associate with the Grand Canyon, but I found it interesting to consider what impressions we would all have of the Grand Canyon if it were mostly white instead of red…

One Reply to “Rock Slide Grand Canyon National Park Rafting”

  1. I wonder if the walls of the Grand Canyon are stained red for the same reason the canyon walls and bluffs of Canyonlands are stained red? If so, that would mean that the reddish color is simply rust or the iron and manganese in the various sandstone layers and formations are oxidizing after begin exposed to the oxygen in our atmosphere.

    Cliff Bandringa
    Trip blog: //www.backroadswest.com/trips

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