What are the mysteries of the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is a breathtaking sight to behold. Its many caves, canyons, waterways and wildlife have mystified people for ages. While it is breathtaking, there’s much we actually don’t know about the Grand Canyon. Secrets are hidden in the rocks, which haven’t been figured out or even discovered yet. Because of this, there are many mysteries about the Canyon that have also led to conspiracy theories. Here are a few mysteries and conspiracies about one of the country’s most famous national parks.

Claims of Bigfoot

It’s hard to go anywhere remote without hearing about Bigfoot sightings. The Grand Canyon is no exception to this rumor. Typically you hear more about Bigfoot sightings in the Pacific Northwest. However, there have been reported sightings in the Grand Canyon as well. While none of them can be proven, it’s definitely interesting to think about.

The mystery of the Great Unconformity

Did you know that when scientists determine the ages of places like the Grand Canyon, they look at the rocks? Yes, by looking at the different layers of rocks in the Canyon walls, they can determine how long the Canyon has been around. What’s tricky about the Grand Canyon is that the rocks in its walls seem to be missing a big part of the picture. In 1869, a man named John Wesley Powell observed that several layers of rock that should’ve been in the Canyon walls were not present. 

More than a billion years of rock are missing from the walls. In some areas, rocks that are 1.4–1.8 billion years old have been found directly under the rock that is only 520 million years old. This is a big problem when it comes to dating the rocks in the Canyon. There are various theories about parts of the rock getting washed away, but no one truly knows why so much history of the Canyon is missing. This kind of problem is called the Great Unconformity and has only been found in a handful of places.

The age of the Grand Canyon

The Great Unconformity plays into the age of the Grand Canyon. Because the rocks can’t be properly dated, the age of the Grand Canyon can only be guessed. Some say the Canyon is only 5–6 million years old. Others say it’s 70 million years old. That’s a huge difference! Considering there are rocks in the Canyon that are 1,840 million years old, it can get even more confusing.

The mystery of cursed objects

Another interesting phenomenon that several Grand Canyon Park Rangers have mentioned is people sending items back. The rangers have said that sometimes they receive letters or packages with items people have taken from the Canyon that they believe to be cursed. Apparently, they’ll take home something they find, as a souvenir, and then have bad luck. So, they mail the item back to be returned. Whether or not items are cursed, it is against the law to remove any natural objects from the National Park. 

The mystery of the caves

Another interesting thing about the Grand Canyon is its caves. Currently, we only have a record of a little over 300 caves being discovered. However, scientists think there could be as many as 1,000 caves within the Canyon. What stories or treasures could these caves hold? Many people have asked this question.

Conspiracy theory: Underground Egyptian city

There is one distinctive story that started this conspiracy theory. In 1909, a story was published by the Arizona Gazette about several explorers. The Smithsonian explorers supposedly discovered a mysterious set of huge caverns. They said that inside the caverns, 50,000 people could live comfortably. The caverns were also full of statues, weapons, seeds and more. The artifacts also weren’t anything like the ones that the Native Americans had. The artifacts looked Tibetan or Egyptian. 

Everyone understandably got excited about this story. So, there has been a rumor going around that there is an Underground Egyptian city in the Grand Canyon. However, the Smithsonian has no records of any of the explorers named in the article and no artifacts from the expedition. 

Some say it was a hoax by the Gazette to sell papers. Other conspiracy theorists say that the Smithsonian is just covering up the story so it fits the usual narrative. Others think the caverns are a doorway to the fourth dimension, and they think it’s a heavily guarded area that people can’t get to now. 

There are also rumors about Egyptian pyramids and relics in an “off-limits” or “forbidden” part of the Grand Canyon. Perhaps these rumors came from the cave story? Maybe! No one knows. However, no matter the validity of the stories and rumors, it certainly makes for some interesting theories that you can discuss while exploring.

There’s no doubt that the Grand Canyon will continue to mystify explorers and scientists for years to come. Its sheer size means that we have probably only scratched the surface when it comes to the mysteries of the Canyon. If you’re thinking about making your own trip, give National Park Express a call. We have several tour options to help you see the Grand Canyon. So, you can decide for yourself if any of these mysteries or theories have any validity.

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