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Open-File Report 99-30

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. National Park Service

Physiographic Rim of The Grand Canyon, Arizona: A Digital Database

By G.H. Billingsley and H.M. Hampton

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5 MB)Summary

This Open-File report is a digital physiographic map database. This pamphlet serves to introduce and describe the digital data. There is no paper map included in the Open-File report. The report does include, however, PostScript and PDF format plot files, each containing an image of the map. For those interested in a paper plot of information contained in the database or in obtaining the PostScript plot files, please see the section entitled "For Those Who Don't Use Digital Geologic Map Databases" below.

This physiographic map of the Grand Canyon is modified from previous versions by Billingsley and Hendricks (1989), and Billingsley and others (1997). The boundary is drawn approximately along the topographic rim of the Grand Canyon and its tributary canyons between Lees Ferry and Lake Mead (shown in red). Several isolated small mesas, buttes, and plateaus are within this area, which overall encompasses about 2,600 square miles. The Grand Canyon lies within the southwestern part of the Colorado Plateaus of northern Arizona between Lees Ferry, Colorado River Mile 0, and Lake Mead, Colorado River Mile 277. The Colorado River is the corridor for raft trips through the Grand Canyon.

Limestone rocks of the Kaibab Formation form most of the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, and a few volcanic rocks form the north rim of parts of the Uinkaret and Shivwits Plateaus. Limestones of the Redwall Limestone and lower Supai Group form the rim of the Hualapai Plateau area, and Limestones of Devonian and Cambrian age form the boundary rim near the mouth of Grand Canyon at the Lake Mead. The natural physiographic boundary of the Grand Canyon is roughly the area a visitor would first view any part of the Grand Canyon and its tributaries.

First posted June 16, 1999

  • Data package TAR.GZ (34 MB)
    Digital databases of the physiographic rim and related base map layers are available for GIS users in ARC/INFO export format format. The data package also includes the descriptive pamphlet which describes each of the datasets. The data have been archived using tar, then compressed with gzip

For additional information, contact:
Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 901
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Billingsley, G. H., Hampton, H. M., 1999, Physiographic Rim of The Grand Canyon, Arizona: A Digital Database: U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-30, 10 pp.,

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