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:
Grand Canyon National Park
The oldest portion of the Grand Staircase is found in Grand Canyon National Park, the southernmost treasure in our collection. A vast variety of layers and expanses of rock are along the walls of the canyon. Its formation is understood by geologists to be from around 65 million years ago, the upheaval of Kaibab limestone (a sedimentary rock from at least 250 million years ago) during the transition between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras.
Islander61 CC BY-SA 4.0
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?