Paleo Home Research Data Education What's New Features Paleo Perspectives Site Map Mirror Sites National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina navigation bar
Paleo Slide Set: Packrat Middens: Vegetation & Climate Variability in the Southwestern United States
Aerial view of the eastern Grand Canyon.
One of the more interesting regions for packrat midden research has been the Grand Canyon. Almost 350 km long, up to 30 km across, and more than 1600 m deep, the Grand Canyon is the world's most intricate network of gorges, canyons, and ravines. In its spectacular walls of colorful stone, the Grand Canyon records nearly 1.5 billion years of the earth's history. As the Colorado Plateau pushed upwards during the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs, the Colorado River entrenched itself through layer after layer of geologic history. The exposed cliffs harbor numerous caves and rock crevices inhabited by packrats, which have left a spectacular vegetation record of what some Quaternary geologists call radiocarbon time, or the last 40,000 years.

Photo Credits:
Kenneth L. Cole
U. S. Geological Survey & NOAA National Geophysical Data Center
Click to View Larger Image
Click on above image to enlarge.

Download a zip file
of a full resolution TIF image

Back to Slide Sets.....

Contact Us
Last Modified: 12 October 2001

Paleoclimatology Program Home Page