10 Most Breathtaking Canyons In The World

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1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
2. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
3. Indus Gorge, India
4. Bicaz Canyon, Romania
5. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland
6. Verdon Gorge, France
7. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
8. Kali Gandaki Gorge, Nepal
9. Copper Canyon, Mexico
10. Tiger Leaping Gorge, China


A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between pairs of escarpments or cliffs and is most often carved from the landscape by the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces so will eventually wear away rock layers to lessen their own pitch slowing their waters; given enough time, their bottoms will gradually reach a baseline elevation—which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This action, when the river source and mouth are at much different base elevations will form a canyon,[1] particularly through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering.

A canyon may also refer to a rift between two mountain peaks, such as those in ranges including the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas or the Andes. Usually a river or stream and erosion carve out such splits between mountains. Examples of mountain-type canyons are Provo Canyon in Utah or Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada. Canyons within mountains, or gorges that have an opening on only one side are called box canyons. Slot canyons are very narrow canyons, often with smooth walls.

The word canyon is Spanish in origin (cañón, pronounced: [kaˈɲon], meaning big caña, cane in English). The word canyon is generally used in the United States and Canada, while the word gorge is more common in Europe and Oceania, though gorge and ravine are also used in some parts of the United States and Canada. in Canada both such terms rarely occur as geographic names, and refer to smaller formation than canyons, with "gorges" being narrow and "ravines" being more open and often wooded. The military-derived word, defile, is occasionally used in the United Kingdom.

Most canyons were formed by a process of long-time erosion from a plateau or table-land level. The cliffs form because harder rock strata that are resistant to erosion and weathering remain exposed on the valley walls.

Canyons are much more common in arid than in wet areas because physical weathering has a more localized effect in arid zones. The wind and water from the river combine to erode and cut away less resistant materials such as shales. The freezing and expansion of water also serves to help form canyons. Water seeps into cracks between the rocks and freezes, pushing the rocks apart and eventually causing large chunks to break off the canyon walls, in a process known as frost wedging.[2] Canyon walls are often formed of resistant sandstones or granite. Submarine canyons form underwater, generally at the mouths of rivers.

Sometimes large rivers run through canyons as the result of gradual geological uplift. These are called entrenched rivers, because they are unable to easily alter their course. The Colorado River in the Southwest and the Snake River in the Northwest are two examples of tectonic uplift.

Canyons often form in areas of limestone rock. As limestone is soluble to a certain extent, cave systems form in the rock. When these collapse, a canyon is left, as in the Mendip Hills in Somerset and Yorkshire Dales in Yorkshire, England.

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