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Access to the North Rim via the primary route leading to the canyon (State Route 67) is limited during the winter season due to road closures.However, this study has been criticized by those who support the "young canyon" age of around six million years as "[an] attempt to push the interpretation of their new data to their limits without consideration of the whole range of other geologic data sets." The canyon is the result of erosion which exposes one of the most complete geologic columns on the planet.

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The major geologic exposures in the Grand Canyon range in age from the 2-billion-year-old Vishnu Schist at the bottom of the Inner Gorge to the 230-million-year-old Kaibab Limestone on the Rim.There is a gap of about a billion years between the 500-million-year-old stratum and the level below it, which dates to about 1.5 billion years ago.They were the first people known to live in the Grand Canyon area.The cultural group has often been referred to in archaeology as the Anasazi, although the term is not preferred by the modern Puebloan peoples.This large unconformity indicates a long period for which no deposits are present.

Many of the formations were deposited in warm shallow seas, near-shore environments (such as beaches), and swamps as the seashore repeatedly advanced and retreated over the edge of a proto-North America.

Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted.

Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.

Temperatures on the North Rim are generally lower than those on the South Rim because of the greater elevation (averaging 8,000 feet or 2,400 metres above sea level).

Heavy rains are common on both rims during the summer months.

The great depth of the Grand Canyon and especially the height of its strata (most of which formed below sea level) can be attributed to (1,500 to 3,000 m) of uplift of the Colorado Plateau, starting about 65 million years ago (during the Laramide Orogeny).