Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Is The Grand Canyon Really That “Grand”?

Well yes and no. To say the Grand Canyon is large is and understatement but the name does imply, and many people believe, it is the largest. At the maximum depth the Grand Canyon measures in at 1800m (6000ft) and 440km long, but the Colca and Cotahuasi Canyons in Peru are almost twice the depth at around 3000m (11,800ft). So why is the Grand Canyon generally regarded as the biggest?

I guess it depends how you measure the size of a canyon. You could go by depth but does that really describe the entire size of the Canyon? Some may say width or length but I think the fairest way is to measure the volume but this is generally not the metric used as it would be nearly impossible to measure accurately. Interestingly, some of the largest (by that I mean deepest) canyons can actually be found in the Himalayas but because of their extreme locations and lack of visitors, they are generally not recognized for their size and are disregarded.

After some research these are some of the “biggest” canyons in the world by depth.

1) The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon (Tibet, China) 5382m (17657 ft), 496.3km long. The undisputed largest canyon in the world.

2) Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal,

3) Polung Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet,

4) Cotahuasi Canyon

It seems as though because the Grand Canyon gets so much publicity and is accessible to people, it is generally accepted as the largest. When I visited the Grand Canyon I was blown away by the vast size of it but I do think other canyons do get overlooked. I for one would like to visit some of the canyons in Peru so leave a comment if you have visited either the Colca or Cotahuasi canyons please.



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