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Deepest Canyon in the World
Deepest Canyon in the United States


Cotahuasi Canyon of Peru - the world's deepest



Most people would probably bet that the "Grand Canyon" of Arizona is the deepest valley in the world. It is extremely well known and of enormous proportion. It is about 1737 meters deep - a little over one mile. Although the Grand Canyon is a very deep canyon, it is not Earth's deepest. That distinction belongs to Cotahuasi Canyon in southewestern Peru. Cotahuasi Canyon was cut by the Rio Cotahuasi, a tribuatary of the Rio Ocona, to a depth of approximately 3354 meters - over twice the depth of the Grand Canyon!


Hells Canyon: Deepest Canyon in the United States



Hells Canyon is the deepest river-cut canyon in the United States. The highest point on the edge of the canyon is 7993 feet (2436 meters) above the canyon floor below. It is ten miles wide and was cut by the waters of the Snake River.

Hells Canyon is a remote area. In the distance between the Hell's Canyon Dam on the southern end of the canyon and the Washington-Oregon border on the northern end of the canyon no roads cross it and only three roads make it down to the Snake River.

The canyon is a unique natural area and in 1975 the United States Congress established the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. It is now a park that anyone can visit. The park features scenic vistas, hiking, camping, mountain biking and other activities.


Hells Canyon photo
Photograph showing the Snake River flowing through Hells Canyon. Image iStockphoto and Norman Eder.


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World's deepest canyon
Satellite image of southwestern Peru. The Pacific ocean is in the southwest corner of the mage but covered by a layer of white stratus clouds. Two deep canyons can be seen in the image. The eastern canyon was cut by the Rio Camana river and the western canyon was cut by the Rio Ocona. The large white area between these canyons is the snow-capped peak of Nudo Coropuna, a stratovolcano. At an elevation of 6617 meters it is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Occidental. The snowcap to the west is on Nevado Solimana, another stratovolcano at an elevation of 6117 meters. The main tributary of the Rio Ocona is the Rio Cotahuasi. The bottom of the Cotahuasi Canyon is 3354 meters below the top of the adjacent plateau. NASA Image.




Hells Canyon satellite image
Satellite image of Hells Canyon. In the southern part of this image the canyon, occupied by the Snake River, can be seen trending northeast-southwest. The canyon turns northwest and meanders in that direction in the northern part of the image. A Landsat Geocover image from NASA.
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