Orbital View: From the Mountains ... to the Canyons?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

This snap provides an interesting optical illusion. Is it a mountain or a canyon? I can see both:

(Answer after the jump)

Not only is it a canyon, it’s the Grand Canyon. Some fun facts about the landmark, courtesy of Daily Overview’s caption:

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States. The geological wonder is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide, and attains a depth of 6,093 feet (1,857 meters) at it’s deepest point. Recent studies suggest that the river established its course through the area roughly 5 or 6 million years ago and has continuously expanded the size of the canyon and exposed nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history since then.

For a much closer look at the canyon, check out this amazing video of skydivers in wingsuits:

(See all Orbital Views here)