Photographer's Note

This is part three of my Dangerous Hiking Series. This young lady made me laugh the whole time she was making her way out to this ledge. At first she was crawling on her belly and then was doing the crab crawl the rest of the way, and after she was done laughing and crying I snapped this photo.

I love the different layers in the Grand Canyon and always wondered what they were and how old are they. Below I have some information on the different layers in the Grand Canyon that I found at the following website:

Have a wonderful day or night, whichever fits your location.

Kaibab Limestone - This layer averages about 250 million years old and forms the surface of the Kaibab and Coconino Plateaus. It is composed primarily of a sandy limestone with a layer of sandstone below it. In some places sandstone and shale also exists as its upper layer. The color ranges from cream to a greyish-white. When viewed from the rim this layer resembles a bathtub ring and is commonly referred to as the Canyon's bathtub ring. Fossils that can be found in this layer are brachiopods, coral, mollusks, sea lilies, worms and fish teeth.

Toroweap Formation - This layer averages about 255 million years old and is composed of pretty much the same material as the Kaibab Limestone above. It is darker in color, ranging from yellow to grey, and contains a similar fossil history.

Coconino Sandstone - This layer averages about 260 million years old and is composed of pure quartz sand, which are basically petrified sand dunes. Wedge-shaped cross bedding can be seen where traverse-type dunes have been petrified. The color of this layer ranges from white to cream colored. No skeletal fossils have yet to be found but numerous invertebrate tracks and fossilized burrows do exist.

Hermit Shale - This layer averages about 265 million years old and is composed of soft, easily eroded shales which have formed a slope. As the shales erode they undermine the layers sandstone and limestone layers above which causes huge blocks to fall off and into the lower reaches of the Canyon. Many of these blocks end up in the side drainages and down on the Tonto Platform. The color of this layer is a deep, rust-colored red. Fossils to be found in this layer consist of ferns, conifers and other plants, as well as some fossilized tracks of reptiles and amphibians.

Supai Formation - This layer averages about 285 million years old and is composed primarily of shale that is intermixed with some small amounts of limestone and capped by sandstone. The limestone features become more and more prominent in the western regions of the Canyon, leading one to believe that that region was more marine. The eastern portions where probably a muddy river delta that fed into an ancient sea. The color of this layer varies from red for the shale to tan for the sandstone caps. Numerous fossils of amphibians, reptiles and terrestial plants exist in the eastern portion which are replaced by marine fossils as you move westward.

Redwall Limestone - This layer averages about 335 million years old and is composed of marine limestones and dolomites. This is probably the most prominent rock layer in the Canyon as it usually forms a sheer cliff ranging from 400-500 feet in height, which has become a natural barrier between the upper and lower regions of the Canyon. The only way though this barrier is in areas where the rock has faulted and broken apart to form a slope which can be climbed upon. The deep reddish color of this layer is caused by iron oxides leaching out of the layers above it and staining its outward face. Behind the reddish face the rock is a dark brownish color. Numerous marine fossils can be found in the Redwall Limestone including brachiopods, clams, snails, corals, fish and trilobites. Many caves and arches can also be seen in the Redwall.

Temple Butte Limestone - This layer averages about 350 million years old and is composed of freshwater limestone in the east and dolomite in the west. In the eastern Grand Canyon this layer occurs irregularly and only then by way of limestone lenses that fill stream beds that have been eroded into the underlaying Mauv Limestone. Apart from these channels, which are quite large in places, the Redwall Limestone sits directly atop the Mauv Limestone. The Temple Butte Limestone is quite prominent, however, in the western regions and forms massive cliffs hundreds of feet high. The color of this layer ranges from purplish in the eastern regions to grey or cream colored in the west. The only fossils to be found in the eastern region are bony plates that once belonged to freshwater fish. In the western region there are numerous marine fossils.

Tonto Group - These layers average about 515 to 545 million years old.

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Additional Photos by Buddy Denmark (PecoBud) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 408 W: 0 N: 912] (3824)
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