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The Grand Canyon is nearly 446 km (300 miles) long, 29 km (18 miles) wide, and over 1,8 km (1 mile) deep. To the best of my knowledge, there is no other canyon of comparable size in the world.

Is this in fact the case? If no, which canyons are larger? If yes, what made the Grand Canyon so much larger than others? What is, perhaps, a "fusion" of several other, smaller canyons linked by the Colorado River? Were the rock formations surrounding the Grand Canyon in some ways more "continuous" than others in the world? Were there at one time other canyons of comparable size elsewhere in the world that somehow got broken up into smaller entities?

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  • $\begingroup$ Here is a list of large Canyons: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canyon#Largest_canyons $\endgroup$ – tobias47n9e Apr 17 '14 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ A side point: many seem to think the Grand in Grand Canyon means it is grand but it comes from the River Grand, now the Colorado River. $\endgroup$ – Peter Jansson Apr 18 '14 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ "greatest" seems to make this question pointlessly subjective. It's not the longest or the deepest on earth. Is it the prettiest? Most revenue generating? Maybe change "greatest" to something a bit more objective, or just change the question to "why is the Grand Canyon so [big]". $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 19 '14 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101: It's the most famous. And the answer may be, that it is the "biggest" canyon accessible to populated areas. (Apparently, there are some bigger ones, but in more remote areas.) $\endgroup$ – Tom Au Apr 19 '14 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ @TomAu I think the question needs some revision (because it hasn't been answered yet). Maybe limit yourself to one of the questions (Maybe how such large-scale drainage patterns form) $\endgroup$ – tobias47n9e Apr 19 '14 at 8:47