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The Grand Canyon— also known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world— mesmerizes millions of tourists who flock to Arizona, U.S., every year. But none of the visitors knew that this gigantic ancient formation hid a treasure that would change Arizona’s prehistoric past— thanks to this geologist who stumbled upon a boulder that chipped off a nearby cliff…and what he heard about it later startled him instantly...
It was like any other piece of a boulder that remained concreted on the canyon’s Bright Angel Trail. But one day, it collapsed all of sudden and lay there on the ground— orphaned and baked in Arizona’s scorching heat.
For those who walked past this crumbled boulder, it appeared like any other ordinary rock you’d find in this majestic rocky scenery. However, the otherwise normal piece of rock unveiled something that rewrote Arizona’s prehistoric past.
Perhaps, no one stopped to even bother what it was. However, little did they know about the secret that lay buried in this chipped-off rock. Soon, the discovery went on to reshape Arizona's prehistoric past— thanks to this visitor who gave a second thought to the eerie rock.
One day, this man crossed paths with this orphaned boulder and stopped to unearth something shocking. What he heard later eventually froze him from top to toe.
The person in question is Allan Krill— an NTNU professor who was busy hiking with his students that day. At first, the geologist threw a plain look at the boulder. It seemed pretty fine, and there was probably nothing special about it. You see, finding chipped rocks is normal in the canyon. But this piece of a boulder seemed to attract Krill’s attention.
The rocks that form the canyon’s frame has been dated to over 1.75 billion years— which has been on the planet half it’s age. Because of this theory, the Grand Canyon’s rocks are believed to be the keys to unlock the prehistoric past of our earth.
For an experienced geologist like him, spotting the unseen is quite easy compared to what the normal Joes can ignore in plain sight. Soon, he began to suspect whether he stumbled upon something unbelievable, and he was right…
Almost no one looked at that boulder the way Professor Krill did. In fact, he was really stupefied at what lay before his eyes on that scorching day. But findings like this aren’t a new thing in the Grand Canyon. A majestic scenery like this wouldn’t have made a name for itself in history without contributing its share of mysteries and ancient findings, especially like the one Krill unearthed.
Though many people passed by this broken piece of a boulder, not many were interested in even standing near it for a selfie. It looked plain and uninteresting compared to the mighty Grand Canyon itself. But when Krill’s discovery was theorized and published four years later, people started to rethink the ancient rocky site carved by the Colorado River.
No matter what your perception is, when a place is devoted to culture, there’s a sort of magical energy worth infinite exploration and respect. In that case, the Grand Canyon was believed to be the place of the afterlife by its first inhabitants.
The native tribes who were first placed on the rocky lips of this ancient marvel considered it as a “gateway to the afterlife.” But that possibly gives us the confusion whether these early residents were able to spot what Krill found in the 21st century or not. Perhaps not…
Though many theories and publications have reached the libraries over the years, there’s still quite some confusion about how old the Grand Canyon really is. For a long time until 2012, it was believed that the Colorado River etched the mighty rocky structure some six million years ago.
But that year, a study revealed that the canyon began to take shape some 70 million years ago. And not just that, some studies claim that the rocks here were formed billions of years ago. However, there still goes in a lot of examination to conclude the approximate age of the Grand Canyon, and Krill’s discovery could be the key to crack this mystery.
For many, the Grand Canyon could seemingly hold tons of interesting dinosaur fossils. Reportedly, it doesn’t. Shocking enough, but according to researchers, this rocky structure formed billions of years ago, long before the Jurassic world ever roamed the planet.
However, the canyon still conceals many treasures in its rocky walls, waiting to be discovered by the human world, and Krill's one in a million discovery is among them.
Perhaps, fossil discoveries of land animals that lived as recently as 10,000 years ago were discovered in the canyon region. However, what Professor Krill discovered that day proved to be one of the most mystifying prehistoric secrets.
In fact, no one even wondered about the possibility of what a plain-looking rock could hold in its rough frame. Soon, the Norwegian professor unveiled something that’s beyond belief.
Most of us are aware of the adage when touring around historic places. Perhaps, we cannot leave more than our footsteps and cannot take more than photos. A billion-year-old historic landmark like the Grand Canyon isn’t scarce of strange beliefs.
And the spookiest of all is when you get haunted if you happen to steal even a small rock from there. But the professor risked it all to make his discovery meaningful.
It is said that tourists who take what doesn’t belong to them from the mighty canyon are haunted by strange sightings and events. When you’re in the Grand Canyon on a sightseeing adventure, you can only leave the place with the stunning photos you take along with “your” belongings. Nothing, not even a small stone, moves out of the venue. In that case, was Allan Krill haunted too?
Apart from the ancient beliefs including the haunting part, Krill’s discovery paved the way to cast a bright light on Arizona’s prehistoric secrets. Factually speaking, if this boulder didn’t crumble off the Bright Angel Trail, the historic treasure would’ve remained hidden, waiting for a thousand other generations to come.
Still, it goes without saying that the world-famous natural landscape like the Grand Canyon has some other mysteries like the ancient caves. Here again, there's a small catch...
According to researchers, the Grand Canyon is home to over 1,000 ancient caves. However, only 335 have been documented so far. Mapping hidden relics and unmasking history’s strangest secrets from here is no child’s play, to be honest.
Today, only one cave is open for tourists who wish to explore the unseen world inside the canyon, and it’s called the— Cave of the Domes on Horseshoe Mesa. But Krill’s discovery wasn’t unearthed in any of the Grand Canyon’s dark caves.
Speaking of Professor Krill’s discovery, he didn’t have to trail all the way into the dark caves as his history-making discovery lay in the open, ignored and abandoned, for a long time. Perhaps, no one who crossed paths with the strange boulder even threw a second look at it. Before his millennial find, there were other discoveries reported, and all were— Fake
Fake news isn’t just a modern-day thing. Perhaps, numerous claims were made in the early 1900s about some stunning discoveries in the canyon. Moreover, such alleged findings were even claimed to have proper evidence for the worldly view.
In fact, The Arizona Gazette had also reported a false story that archaeologists had unearthed an incredible treasure in the Grand Canyon. Was it true to every word?
According to the paper, traces of ancient Egyptian and Tibetan civilization were spotted in an underground tunnel here. Later, the Smithsonian denied these claims, and the rest remains untold in history. Coming to the modern-day discovery made by Krill, he couldn’t have asked for anything better than this to rewrite Arizona’s history.
Whatever that boulder had in store for him that day eventually helped to reshape the Grand Canyon's history like never before.
The Colorado River is solely responsible for the formation of Arizona’s most dramatic rocky structures. Moreover, the mighty river continues to etch what future generations will see in the Grand Canyon for years to come.
While it’s beyond possibility to see the rate at which the rocky layout is changing over the years, the canyon is persistently changing shape— thanks to the Colorado River and the other forces of nature. But do you know when the Grand Canyon was discovered initially?
The Grand Canyon was discovered by the first Europeans in 1540. In that case, there’s still so much to unearth from its Herculean landscape. While the canyon is one of the most sought-after destinations for geological study, many researchers have just begun to tap various wonders caved within the Arizonan structure.
Moreover, the Grand Canyon has seen many geologists come and go over the years, each team with a set of their discoveries and claims. And the list has soared to new heights with Professor Krill’s incredible discovery.
While the Grand Canyon in pictures and videos might look too large for a minute glimpse, it isn’t really that wide in reality. Perhaps, many people believe that it’s the widest around, but shockingly, it is not. The canyon is the narrowest near Marble Canyon, stretching to a mere 600 yards across, and its widest spot is a stunning 18 miles across.
Moreover, the Grand Canyon’s width runs across an average of 10 miles from most locations. Still, it makes a mysterious spot owing to the infinite possibilities of history that may remain buried behind those rocky walls and even boulders like the one unearthed by Krill.
Various in-depth details about ancient creatures, landscapes, and flora that formed the different world we never knew are thought of as easy to crack with the help of the canyon’s rocky fragments. Perhaps, the boulders in the Grand Canyon are comparatively older than various marine and volcanic rock discoveries.
Of all the other incredible facts that frame the infinite mysteries that pillar the Grand Canyon, it’s quite intriguing that the canyon masters its own weather. Sudden changes in altitude have a drastic effect on precipitation and temperature, so the weather here could vary depending upon where you’re in the canyon.
The hottest and one of the aridest is at Phantom Ranch, and the coldest weather station is in the Bright Angel Trail— yes, the exact spot beneath which Krill made his discovery.
There’s no doubt that the Grand Canyon offers some of the most visible pieces of evidence of a planetary geological phenomenon called the Great Unconformity. In this concept, around 250 million-year-old rock lodes are layered back-to-back with the 1.2 billion-year-old rocky strata.
However, what happened during the time gap of hundreds of millions of years in between remains a mystery, and Krill's discovery could possibly fit the missing piece to the bigger picture.
Surprisingly, it isn’t all bad news to geologists. As the Colorado River constantly tears down rock fragments of the mighty canyon’s walls, new pieces of history are being unveiled on various occasions. Perhaps, it’s going to remain an impossible task to unearth hidden artifacts in the Grand Canyon’s rocky layout without the help of natural erosion.
Even secrets like the one Krill surfaced are among the ancient findings that cast light on the era of the distant past we never knew about.
Though several amateurs and geologists have spent decades combing the canyon for artifacts, certain surprises remained hidden for millions of years, only to fall in the sight of the right person. That takes us back to Professor Krill.
In 2016, the Norwegian geologist hiked along the Bright Angel Trail along with his students. When he embarked on this little trip, he didn’t expect to discover something, only to play a vital part in changing Arizona’s distant past.
Bright Angel Trail is unarguably an impressive layout in itself. Beginning on the gorge’s southern rim, the trail stretches approximately 8 miles, majestically dropping over 4,000 feet to the mighty Colorado River below.
The trail also traverses across other significant rock formations such as the Cheops Pyramid and the Brahma Temple. Despite being far less ostentatious, something unbelievable caught Krill’s attention at the right time…
In the middle of all that hiking adventure with his students, the Norwegian geologist spotted a strange-looking boulder lying along the rocky path. Finding scattered rocks in the Grand Canyon is a normal thing. But something about this boulder caught Krill’s attention in a matter of a few seconds.
Soon, he knew that he eyed something that no one else did, despite passing by the orphaned boulder at infinite counts.
Professor Krill undoubtedly knew that the boulder chipped off from an exposed section of the Manakacha Formation. This mudstone plus limestone fused cliff runs through the Grand Canyon and has evidently formed a vital part of the complex rocky cocktail that frames the Colorado Plateau. Eventually, only a portion of the formation had chipped off, sending the rock in question onto the professor’s path.
Intrigued by the strange appearance of the boulder, Krill immediately snapped a picture and sent it to Stephen Rowland, a University of Nevada paleontologist. Though findings like this make immense sense to professionals like Krill, still, the mystery hidden in the boulder revealed something else.
After studying the image carefully, Krill received a nod from the American researcher that confirmed what his colleague had initially suspected.
However, it took Krill and his team another couple of years to conclude their discovery with viable theories. On August 19, 2020, details about the Norwegian professor’s ground-breaking find were revealed. Rowland and his colleagues, Mario Caputo and Zachary Jensen, published a paper about prehistoric trackways in the Grand Canyon— including Professor Krill’s discovery along the Bright Angel Trail.
The previous studies relating to the Manakacha Formation and the geological maps of the canyon’s landscape helped the researchers to pinpoint Krill’s discovery with ultimate precision. As it turned out, the Norwegian professor had been right on time near the fragmented boulder that he found alongside the rocky trail. And this discovery says it all…
On that day, when Professor Krill stumbled upon the dusty boulder, he couldn’t help himself ponder about it. In a few minutes, he discovered that the ordinary-looking rock fragment treasured a fossil pattern unlike any other. A series of strange footprints attracted Krill’s attention, only to help him make that ground-breaking claim.
Although the experts aren’t sure what animal made those footprints, some are confident enough to claim that it belongs to a reptile. And not just that, these footprints date back to the Carboniferous Period, making the discovery one of the oldest ever to have been unearthed in the Grand Canyon. But that’s not the only fact that shocked the professor.
After studying the footprints carefully, Rowland and his team concluded that the fossil footprints surfaced by Professor Krill were approximately 313 million years old! Moreover, they’re believed to be one of the oldest fossilized animal footprints ever found in the Arizonan landscape.
Apparently, these footprints are believed to belong to the oldest tracks of a shelled-egg-laying animal that walked the earth millions of years ago. In the end, the Norwegian professor was lucky enough to have unearthed something that was almost impossible without breaking off a part of the Bright Angel Trail.
Guess Grand Canyon is a mighty landmark of infinite mysteries, still waiting to be unearthed. With the ferocious Colorado River eroding the canyon’s rocky walls, we can stay assured to eye more stunning artifacts like this. We wonder what Grand Canyon is still hiding behind those rocky layers.
All this makes us want to book another trip to the Arizonan wonder for the second time! If you’ve been there already, share a bit of your adventure with us! Let us know what you think about Professor Allan Krill’s discovery in our comments section. And please don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!