A canyon is a steep gorge with very high walls and a minimal valley floor. The canyons are generally larger and deeper than the ravines, a related geological formation, and are narrower and steeper than the valleys. Canyons can be found all over the world, from the peaks of the Himalayas to the bottom of the oceans, and are very diverse and vary widely in width, depth and length. One of the most remarkable and largest canyons in the world is the Grand Canyon, which stretches across the American Southwest.
Canyons are formed by erosion processes, although in a few cases they can be caused by the movement of tectonic plates. A canyon begins like a river bed, and over the centuries the river sinks deeper and deeper into the rock, creating a deep gorge. As the canyon deepens, the rate of erosion tends to accelerate, as it acts as a drainage point for a watershed, favoring the flow of water even further. The exposure of the barrel walls also creates a surface for gnawing wind and other elements, further deepening the barrel.
One of the defining characteristics of a canyon is its stepped walls, which are caused by layers of rock of varying thickness and density. As the softer, more friable rocks wear out, the harder rocks remain, creating clear layers in the canyon walls that can be examined for more information on the geology of the area. Most of the canyons are also home to the original waterway that led to the formation of the canyon in the first place, and some act as a form of habitat for the area’s plants and wildlife.
The sport of crossing ravines is known as canyoning. Canyons use a variety of techniques to travel, ranging from kayaking to horseback riding. This sport can offer a fascinating view of the natural environment of an area, as people can pass through various areas when exploring a canyon. It can also be dangerous; Canyons are known for their sudden flooding, and their walls can also be very fragile, being able to create landslides of rocks and earth that can injure or kill people.
When traveling in and around the canyons, it is a good idea to be aware of safety. People should move away from the edge of a canyon, as the edges of the canyon are often mined and subjected to great erosion. Moving weight near the edge of a cannon can cause the edge to sink, causing a person to fall and serious injury. It is also important to consider weather conditions when traveling through a canyon, as a sudden flood can be caused by surprisingly light rainfall.