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Take a virtual tour of America’s national parks: the Grand Staircase

Visitors to “scientific treasures” (sites with significant science content) often treat each site on its own. While this may be fine in many cases, in others it leaves the visitor without a complete picture of a certain aspect of science. Sometimes scientific treasures ought to be visited together with other, similar sites.

One example of a synergistic relationship between scientific treasures in the United States is the trio of National Parks: Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, and Bryce Canyon. Here a visitor to all three is treated to a more complete picture of the West’s geology than from each park on its own. This triad of National Parks makes up the Grand Staircase, a formation of multiple cliffs retreating to the north.

Explore the images for the complete picture of the Grand Staircase formation:

Bryce Canyon's hoodoos

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Bryce Canyon is best known for its hoodoos, or red rock spires, formed by erosion from rain and ice of the remaining limestone cliffs. The orange and red coloration originates in iron oxides, and the purples and lavenders are from manganese minerals. This park contains three biomes: Upper Sonoran, inhabited by piñon pine and juniper trees; a Transition Zone with ponderosa pine; and a Canadian Zone containing fir, spruce, and aspen trees. The area was named for the Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, who commented that it is “a hell of a place to lose a cow!”

Dbenbenn public domain

We hope that you have a chance to gain a fuller picture of the geology of the southwestern United States by visiting all three scientific treasures. Which other sites would you recommend viewing as a group to give visitors a more complete idea of their scientific significance?

Recent Comments

  1. Minerva

    Wonderful images….post more images. THANKS

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