Hoff's Aliner Travels
A Travel Blog for US and Canadian Parks with Geological Notes

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.
The canyon’s name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day. Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40 ft wide at the river.
The majority of the steep walls of the Black Canyon are Precambrian gneiss and schist formed 1.7 billion years ago during a metamorphic period. The white streaks in the gneiss are pegmatite which flowed into cracks in the gneiss deep underground when the pegmatite was molten.
Pictures don’t do justice to how far below the river is.


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