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12 things you may not have known about the Grand Canyon

Although the canyon itself is roughly 6 million years old, the Grand Canyon National Park officially turned 100 on Feb. 26, 2019.

PHOENIX — When it comes to talking about the most iconic landmarks in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is right at the top of that list.

The state is literally nicknamed after this natural wonder.

Although the canyon itself is roughly six million years old, the Grand Canyon National park officially turned 100 on Feb. 26, 2019.

So in celebration of 100 years of the national park that holds one of the most beautiful national wonders of the world, here are 12 things you may not have known about the Grand Canyon.

1. The Grand Canyon was actually the last largely unexplored area of the West in 1857. According to the National Park Service, it was often called "the Great Unknown" and was "literally a blank space on maps."

2. In 1919, the Grand Canyon received 44,173 visitors. Today, the Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited national parks receiving more than six million visitors a year.

3. The most dangerous animal at the Grand Canyon is a rock squirrel. According to the NPS, they cause the most injuries to visitors.

4. Although it was initially given federal protection in 1893, the Grand Canyon would not become a national park until three years after the creation of the National Park Service in 1919.

5. Following a crash on June 30, 1956 involving two commercial airplanes over the Grand Canyon that killed all 128 occupants, the Federal Aviation Agency was officially created two years later to ensure the safe use of national airspace.

6. A Grand Canyon Civilian Conservation Corps worker in 1935 who was building the guard wall by El Tovar Hotel embedded a heart-shaped rock in the wall for his hotel waitress sweetheart.

7. The Grand Canyon is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island.

8. The Grand Canyon influences weather. Meaning, the weather can vary drastically depending on where you are in the canyon.

9. The oldest human artifacts found, according to NPS, date back 12,000 years ago to the Paleo-Indian period.

10. There's a species of rattlesnake found nowhere else in the world but in the Grand Canyon: Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake.

11. You can get married at the Grand Canyon National Park and spread your loved ones ashes as long as it's in an undeveloped area of the park and you have a special permit.

12. The oldest rocks in the Grand Canyon are 1.8 billion years old.