In spite of being one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World,” humans have not always seen the Grand Canyon in a positive light. First seen by Europeans in the year 1540, the canyon was not comprehended easily. Throughout the entire exploratory era, lasting nearly 320 years, conquistadores, explorers, trappers and miners viewed the canyon as an obstacle to travel or even useless. None of these early visitors ever returned a second time. However, when the first geologist laid eyes on it in 1857, he issued a siren call to humanity that it was something quite special on our planet. Every geologist who followed returned again, announcing to the world that the Grand Canyon was to be revered.
Wayne Ranney has lectured on all seven of the Earth’s continents. With a lifelong interest in the natural and earth sciences, he specializes in making the fascinating story of our planet come alive for audience members. He is a retired professor of geology but still teaches an occasional course at Northern Arizona University. He is passionate about sharing his vast knowledge of earth history with others in an easy and informal style, and is a well-respected author of numerous award-winning books and articles. He enjoys anything that allows him to to get outdoors with others to enjoy the varied and interesting landscapes of this beautiful world.