Difference Between Gorge and Canyon

Gorges and Canyons are geographical structures that belong to the family of valleys. Canyons and gorges are geographical landforms belonging to the broad categories of valleys.


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Gorge vs Canyon

The difference between a Gorge and Canyon is that a canyon is a wide valley having perpendicular sides, and a gorge is a wide ravine with a stream running in it or a gap without the river. The term ‘canyon’ is mostly used in the United States of America, whereas ‘gorge’ is mainly used in Europe.

Gorge vs Canyon

Gorges are principally developed because of the course of water or lava. The flanks of gorges are also created of sandstone and granite. Some gorges have limestone structures that have formed complex cave formations in the gorges.

Canyons are created by extended times and persistent depletion from an elevation level. The cliffs are created as these hard rocks are immune to weathering or any type of erosion.

Comparison Table 

Parameters of ComparisonGorgeCanyon
ProportionsAs per proportions, Gorges are smaller than Canyons. Canyons are considered to be larger than Gorges. 
DepthGorges and Canyons are both deep, but Canyons are oftentimes wider than Gorges.Gorges are also termed ravines because of their narrow nature. Gorges are narrower than Canyons.
RegionGorges are located in areas that have temperate regions. E.g., Mountain Ranges.Meanwhile, Canyons are located in arid regions where the climate is dry and deserty.
FormationGorges are mainly formed because of the flow of water or lava. Canyons are largely formed because of erosion on a flat-based plateau level as well as weathering of hard rock forms are the cause why Canyons are formed.
UsageThe term ‘Gorges’ is more widely used in Europe. Meanwhile, the term ‘Canyons’ is mostly used in the United States of America. 

What is Gorge?

Gorges are geographical formations that are formed because of natural forces such as erosion, glaciers melting, and various geographical eruptions.

The movement of Earth’s surface that is known as the geologic uplift of tectonic movement has been associated with the creation of these gorges. In the majority of these cases, geologic uplift goes hand in hand with weathering.

Gorges are formed due to the flow of lava and the stream of water in between the valleys. They are made up of sandstone and granite.

They are mainly associated with rivers and flowing water. Some gorges go back thousands of years in history where scientists have discovered famous fossils and prints of animals and plants.

gorge 2

What is Canyon?

“Canyon” is a word that originates from the Spanish word canon, which only means “tube” or “pipe.” “Gorge” is a term that is used as an alternative for the term “canyon,” but a gorge is nearly invariably more precipitous and more cramped as compared to a canyon.

The most well-known example is the river canyon. Canyons are formed because of water force from a nearby river stream that can punctuate within a river bed.

The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, which is located in Tibet, was formed over millions of years because of the Yarlung Zangbo River. This Canyon is the deepest and longest in the world.

canyon 1

Main Differences Between Gorge and Canyon 

  1. Gorges are mainly formed because of the flow of water or lava. Whereas Canyons are largely formed because of erosion on a flat-based plateau level, as well as weathering of hard rock forms, is the cause why Canyons are formed.
  2. The term ‘Gorges’ is more widely used in Europe. Meanwhile, the term ‘Canyons’ is mostly used in the United States of America. 
Difference Between Gorge and Canyon


  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo894
  2. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/346/6212/978.abstract
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