The New York Times
The Grand Canyon, a cathedral to time, is losing its river
As the planet warms, low snow is starving the river at its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, and higher temperatures are pilfering more of the Colorado River through evaporation. The seven states that draw on the river are using just about every drop it can provide, and while a wet winter and a recent deal between states have staved off its collapse for now, its long-term health remains in deep doubt. Drought and low water aside, there is another aspect of the canyon's future that worries Victor R. Baker, a geologist at the University of Arizona. Baker has spent four decades exploring alcoves, high ledges and tributary mouths in the Colorado Basin. He scours them for the very particular patterns of sand and silt left by giant floods. The stories they tell are startling.