Difference Between Gorge and Canyon (With Table)

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. Though these terms have been used correspondently, there are some significant disparities between a canyon and a gorge. The differences are in terms of size, style of formation, localization, and choice of usage of the terms.

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.

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. Gorges are generally formed because of three natural factors, like erosion, glacier melting as well as geological factors.

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. Canyons are very natural in desert areas as opposed to wet areas. The majority of the canyon walls are composed of granite and sandstone. 

Comparison Table Between Gorge and Canyon 

Parámetros de comparaciónGorgeCanyon
ProportionsAs per proportions, Gorges are smaller than Canyons. Canyons are considered to be larger than Gorges. 
ProfundidadGorges 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.
FormaciónGorges 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.
UsoThe 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. Gorges are formed due to the washing away of the deposits made by flowing water, and streams in valleys are liable for the growth of the majority of gorges in the world. One example of this type of formation of gorges through erosion is the Talari Gorges in Mali.

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. An example of this type of gorge is the Macocha Gorge in the Czech Republic, which is caused because of geologic uplift. The third natural force that is glacier melting is the cause of the formation of gorges such as The Colombia River Gorge in Washington.

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. An example of a Gorge which is famous for fossils is Olduvai Gorge which is situated in Tanzania and is around 2 million years old.

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. Some causes of Canyon formation are the flow of streams, the methods of weathering and erosion, and tectonic movement, which are common processes.

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 river bed deposits are sent downstream along the river, and this formulates a deep channel that is quite cramped.

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. It reaches more than 5,300 meters from tip to base and 500 kilometers, respectively.

Main Differences Between Gorge and Canyon 

  1. As per proportions, Gorges are smaller than Canyons, whereas Canyons are considered to be larger than Gorges. 
  2. Gorges 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.
  3. Gorges are located in areas that have temperate regions. For, e.g., Mountain Ranges. Meanwhile, Canyons are located in arid regions where the climate is dry and deserty.
  4. 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.
  5. The term ‘Gorges’ is more widely used in Europe. Meanwhile, the term ‘Canyons’ is mostly used in the United States of America. 

Conclusión

Gorges and Canyons are very significant as geographical formations which attract tourists from all over the world. These geographical formations of Canyons and Gorges contribute to the economies of the countries. These geographical landforms are a great source of education because of the changes and formation changes over the years. The world-famous Canyons and Gorges are an insight into historical life. 

Referencias

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