Grand Canyon starts to flood– but don’t worry

This morning, the pull of a lever marked the beginning of a man-made flood in the Grand Canyon that will last three days. The waters, released from Lake Powell near the Utah-Arizona border, rush into the Colorado River below at a mind-boggling rate– more than 300,000 gallons of water per second.

That’s enough water to fill the Empire State Building in 20 minutes, says the US Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne.

The purpose of the flood– besides to have something cool to look at– is to stir up sediment and restore the sandbars that are home to many species of plant and animal.

Check out the slideshow here (the last photo especially).