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:
The Colorado River
More recently, only four to five million years ago, the Colorado River began carving its way through this limestone, and then eroding the underlying Vishnu schist from 1.7 billion years ago. “Kaibab” is a Paiute word meaning “mountain lying down.”
Grand Canyon National Park CC BY 2.0
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?