MYSTERIES and CAVES of the GRAND CANYON
Presented by Carol A. Hill at the May Luncheon and Annual Meeting of the Permian Basin Section-SEPM
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
ABSTRACT: There are three profound mysteries involving the origin of Grand Canyon: (1) How old is Grand Canyon – is it old (~85 Ma) or young (~6 Ma)?; (2) How did the Colorado River cross the topographic high of the Kaibab arch – water cannot flow uphill?; and (3) How could the Colorado River have become “lost” through Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon – there is no trace of it from the Utah-Colorado border to the mouth of the canyon from ca. 11 Ma to 5.5 Ma. This is the story of our 20+ year Grand Canyon project that has tried to solve these three mysteries from our knowledge of caves and karst. It starts from the time of writing my Carlsbad Cavern book (1986) and my Geology of Delaware Basin book (1996), and it continues to the present. It focuses on Grand Canyon caves, and you will see lots of beautiful Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon cave photos as I tell this story.
BIOGRAPHY: Carol Hill is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and is now an Adjunct Professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences and Continuing Ed Departments. Her main research areas have been the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and the Grand Canyon of Arizona. One of her specialties is caves and karst, and she is the author of the books Cave Minerals of the World and Geology of Carlsbad Cavern. She has also published the book Geology of the Delaware Basin: Guadalupe Mountains, Apache Mountains, and Glass Mountains with PBS-SEPM, on the regional geology of the area, tying in the hypogene origin of Guadalupe caves with the oil and gas fields of the Delaware Basin. She has worked in the Grand Canyon for the last 23 years and is the author of the all-color book Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth and also of many published papers on the geology and karst hydrology of the Grand Canyon, including those in Science and Earth-Science Reviews (Elsevier). She has been featured on NOVA and National Geographic TV for her work in Carlsbad Cavern and Grand Canyon.