The fierce athmospheric conditions at the Grand Canyon

The fierce athmospheric conditions at the Grand Canyon

The wind

Grand Canyon Skywalk reveals an amazing view towards one of the most visited places in the United States: the Grand Canyon. Next to the canyon a star in the show is the nature itself. For centuries fierce winds storm the place and have carved the rock walls.

Since no one ever studied the winds at the canyon, the guys at Lochsa Engineering built a station to collect data and to measure its power. Soon it becomes clear that winds with speed of 145 kilometers per hour occur daily. These powerful winds cause trouble for the engineers when building Skywalk’s bridge.

“There is nothing mentioned in the school books on how to overcome the intense winds blowing at the canyon.” – says Bill Karren.

The Skywalk’s bridge was going to show up 21 meters from the edge of the 1200 meters tall rock and the winds will be hitting it from all 4 directions – up, down and from the sides. That is why special calculation was needed.

The erosion

The meteorological station that Lochsa Engineering build was also collecting data for the erosion to rocks that the winds were causing, the amount of rain, temperature and gravitation. These elements could cause a small crack in the rock to turn into a huge chasm. The freezing and of the snow in the winter and the heating up of the rock in the summer cause it to weather. The connection between the rocks are cut off due to the atmospheric conditions which causes huge pieces of rock to calve. This of course is a slow process but could case catastrophic collapses. The erosion effect in the past 1.5 million years could be clearly seen on the canyon’s terraced walls.

The truth about the forming of the Grand Canyon is dramatic and still causes disputes. Million years ago the surface of the current canyon has risen and fallen due to tectonic activities. The whole area has been flooded and the tectonic debris have left at the bottom. Aqueous rocks have slowly formed from these debris. With its emerge, Colorado River began to drill its way through rock. Millions of years have passed before Grand Canyon obtains its current look. The latest scientific research show that this process may have begun 17 million years ago.