Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - Why the Colors?

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The colors in the canyon are a result of hydrothermal changes. The rhyolite in the canyon contains a variety of different iron compounds. When the old geyser basin was active, the "cooking" of the rock caused chemical alterations in these iron compounds. Exposure to the elements caused the rocks to change colors. The rocks are oxidizing; in effect, the canyon is rusting. The colors indicate the presence or absence of water in the individual iron compounds. Most of the yellows in the canyon are the result of iron present in the rock rather than, as many people think, sulfur.


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lcarreau - Jun 13, 2009 11:53 pm - Voted 10/10

Great write-up !!!

Another "canyon" photo; that's outstanding!

I often had vivid dreams of this canyon in my
dreams. Geez, check out those awesome rapids!!!

Did you spot any rafts coming down that thing?


silversummit - Jun 14, 2009 9:10 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great write-up !!!

Thanks for the compliment; I did some research on the net to find out why the colors were so varied.

I too was fascinated by the river and rapids; they looked awesome but no one rafts within the park or at least this area.

Licensed companies run trips trips north on the Montana side and south in the Tetons but they are somewhat "tame" compared to the one I took in '08 in Colorado.

The river is gorgeous in the canyon though especially since the walls come straight down to the water in most places; no place to bail out!


lcarreau - Jun 14, 2009 12:09 pm - Voted 10/10

Brilliant deduction ...

The "main" corridor of the Inner Gorge of
AZ's Grand Canyon is a different shape
(older stage of erosion) than that of the
awesome Yellowstone gorge. Excellante !!!

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