Encyclopedia Article


The flat valley or other ground that is bounded on two sides by steep vertical walls. This almost creates a v-shaped gap in the landscape. Canyons are often formed by rivers and streams, which have cut through the rock of the earth and created a deep valley. A famous example of a canyon is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This canyon was created by the Colorado River which, through preferential erosion, incised the canyon into the bedrock. Canyons are numerous in the southwestern United States due to the specific environment of the region and the erosion that has occurred there over millions of years.

Photo Credit: 

"Slot Canyon in the Canyonlands of Southern Utah, ca. 1970," photograph by . Karl Kernberger Pictorial Collection (200-008-0748), Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. All Rights Reserved, Use with permission only.

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