Lifeline of the Southwest
Iron oxide in the rock produces the vibrant red color seen here. Explore the Grand Canyon in Street View to find Iron oxide and nearly 40 other major sedimentary rock layers.
The western part of the Grand Canyon contains limestone, indicative of a warm, shallow sea, while the eastern part probably contained a muddy river delta.
Fossils and imprint trails of marine and other animals have been found in the Tapeats Sandstone.
The ancient Anasazi people used these granaries to store seed and protect it from pests and rot.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, flows of basaltic lava dammed the Colorado River at least 13 times to create volcanic remnant like Vulcan’s Anvil.
Today, Lake Mead fills the river from the bottom up, covering up former rapids and depositing large amounts of sandy sediment along the banks.
Bighorn sheep, named for the large, curved horns on the males, can sometimes be spotted on the river shores.
America’s Most Endangered River
Photo by Paxson Woelber
6 million years in the making
For over 6 million years, the Colorado River has carved out its place on Earth. It spans over 1,450 miles, beginning in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and ending the Gulf of California in Mexico. The Colorado River serves as a lifeline in the arid Western United States. It graces 7 states, 2 countries, and 9 national parks, nourishing the lives of 36 million people and endangered wildlife. Millions depend on the river for irrigation, water supply, and hydroelectric power. However, excessive water consumption and outdated management have endangered the Colorado River.
Photo by Peter McBride
A river endangered
The Colorado River is one of the most dammed, diverted, and plumbed rivers in the world -- by the time the Colorado River reaches the Gulf of California in Mexico, it’s so tapped out that the river runs dry. For these reasons, American Rivers named it America’s Most Endangered River in 2013. While climate change and population growth are factors in the river’s decline, the biggest threat is outdated water management. The river’s water is over-allocated. At this rate, there isn’t enough water to support everyone and everything that depends on it. The Colorado River is in real danger and a recreation economy, water supply, and wildlife habitat hang in the balance. To learn more, visit American Rivers.
Help the river run
Google Maps teamed up with American Rivers to put the Colorado River in Street View. Dive into the 360 imagery to float down the river from Lake Powell to Lake Mead and see the entire length of Grand Canyon National Park from the river. Paddle through 279 miles of cold water, or hike up one of 5 trails into the rich, red walls of the side canyons. Our partnership will preserve the Colorado River in Street View, but visit American Rivers to learn about how to protect and restore this endangered river for the longterm.
Explore the Colorado River
Meet the Colorado River Trekkers
American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, they have protected and restored 150,000+ miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Take action at www.AmericanRivers.org/Colorado
Google Earth Outreach Team
Google Earth Outreach is a program from Google designed specifically to help non-profit and public benefit organizations around the world leverage the power of Google Earth and Maps to illustrate and advocate for the important work that they do in areas such as: environment, cultural preservation, humanitarian work and more.