Hypothese of Kaibab Plateau in the Grand Canyon Essay

Hypothese of Kaibab Plateau in the Grand Canyon Essay

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Many will attest to the grandeur of the natural feature that exists in northern Arizona, but the formation of the Grand Canyon has befuddled geomorphologists to this day. This confusion can be attributed to the Kaibab Plateau, an anomaly considering the Colorado River traverses it seamlessly. Four prevalent hypotheses have been proposed since the 19th century, starting with the lake overflow proposition first brought up by John Newbury and then reinforced by Eliot Blackwelder. Newbury argued that a structure must have ponded an ancient lake causing an overspill to cut into the Grand Canyon. This argument holds that the river must have come after the plateau’s existence. Unbeknownst to Newbury, the structure would be the Kaibab Plateau.
Blackwelder would later use the Muddy Creek Problem, in which older limestone dispositions were abruptly halted by the Colorado River’s rapid arrival, to support the notion that the Colorado River was younger than the Kaibab Plateau. John Powell argued against Newbury’s belief that the plateau was older, claiming that the river had already existed when an uplift of the plateau occurred giving it its current formation. This theory is known as Antecedence, but due to the Muddy Creek dilemma another proposition was in need to further push the case for an ancient river. Through Superimposition theory, Alan Strahler stated that an old river would have been assisted by scarp retreat caused by the uplift. Lastly, Eddie McKee attempted to address the Muddy Creek Problem by explaining that a second drainage in the west, or the proposed Hualapai Drainage, caught up with the Colorado River to the east, due to an uplift contributing to a lowered base level.
With these various hypotheses laid out I support the...


... middle of paper ...


...the formation that once capped the circular caps we see today (6d).
In conclusion these various factors explain the theory that Kaibab Plateau is actually much older than the Colorado River and that the lake overflow theory best explains the multiple processes that contributed to this natural features current landscape. Lake Bidahochi would have flooded from time to time and combined with the lowest elevation on the Kaibab Plateau, the incision would have started. Considering major rivers have the capability to erode materials such as basaltic bedrock, going through the Kaibab Plateau would have proven possible. With circular scarps retreating from the plateau, the meandering of both rivers are explained and the presence of Colorado River limestone in a sequence of ancient basins today prove the river was younger than the uplift that took place in this region.



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