Stratigraphic column

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Stratigraphic column of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States.

A stratigraphic column is a representation used in geology and its subfield of stratigraphy to describe the vertical location of rock units in a particular area.

A typical stratigraphic column shows a sequence of sedimentary rocks, with the oldest rocks on the bottom and the youngest on top.

In areas that are more geologically complex, such as those that contain intrusive rocks, faults, and/or metamorphism, stratigraphic columns can still indicate the relative locations of these units with respect to one another. However, in these cases, the stratigraphic column must either be a structural column, in which the units are stacked with respect to how they are observed in the field to have been moved by the faults, or a time column, in which the units are stacked in the order in which they were formed. They also show the lithology of the rock units.