Canyonlands National Park

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Period Canyonlands NP
Jurassic

Morrison Formation

Summerville Formation
Entrada Sandstone
Carmel Formation
Page Sandstone
Navajo Sandstone
Kayenta Formation
Wingate Sandstone
Triassic Chinle Formation
Moenkopi Formation
Permian

Black Box Dolomite

Cutler Group
Pennsylvanian

Honaker Trail Formation

Paradox Formation

Pinkerton Trail Formation

Generalized physiography of northern Canyonlands National Park. Cliffs are in brown, mesa tops and table-lands in green. In both cases darker colors denote lower elevations.

Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Above: Moab, Utah

Left: looking upstream up the Colorado River Canyon just north of Moab.

Canyonlands National Park Left and below: The highway north of Moab follows the Moab Fault. The fault is downdropped to the east; the Wingate Sandstone that makes up the cliff west of the fault is far below the surface on the east.
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Moab Fault stratigraphy. The cliffs at the top are Wingate Sandstone (Jurassic). The somewhat greenish unit below the cliffs is the Chinle Formation. The Moenkopi is below the Chinle and thin in this area (both are Triassic), and the red beds in the foreground are the Cutler Group (Permian)
Canyonlands National Park 
Canyonlands National Park Nice view of the Moab Fault stratigraphy, with the cliff-forming Wingate at the top, the greenish Chinle below, with perhaps a bit of brown Moenkopi at the base, and the red Cutler group forming the bottom half of the slope.
Canyonlands National Park Looking west on the highway to Canyonlands.
Canyonlands National Park Another nice view of the stratigraphy, with the cliff-forming Wingate at the top, the greenish Chinle below, brown Moenkopi at the base, and the red Cutler group forming the bottom half of the slope.

Monitor and Merrimac

Canyonlands National Park The Merrimac (left) and Monitor (right) are two buttes north of Canyonlands, made of Entrada Sandstone, with the Carmel and Dewey Bridge Formations forming the basal slopes. The white rock below is Navajo Sandstone.
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park 

Shafer Canyon Overlook

Opposite the Visitor Center is a spectacular view. The road at the bottom and the road clinging to a ledge on the canyon rim are, amazingly, the same road.

Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National ParkThe Visitor Center lies just north of a narrow neck that forms the entrance to Island In The Sky, an otherwise almost inaccessible mesa. Island in the Sky is actually hard to identify on a topographic map because because there are so many deep re-entrants in the cliffs. This view, looking northwest, shows hills of Navajo Sandstone, with thin-bedded reddish Kayenta below, and the distant gorge shows cliffs of Wingate.
Canyonlands National Park 
Canyonlands National Park Telephoto view of the inner gorge.
Canyonlands National Park The bluffs are Navajo Sandstone. The white color of the Navajo Sandstone is attributed to bleaching, probably by hydrocarbons. The flats below the bluffs are Kayenta with a thin veneer of Navajo in places.

Upheaval Dome

Upheaval Dome was long held to be a place where a salt dome rose, dissolved away, and the rocks collapsed into the void. It is now widely considered to be the remnant of a Jurassic impact crater. The original crater has long since been eroded away. It would have been about twice the diameter of the present structure and probably had a central peak. The present structure is the eroded remnant of the central uplift. Resistant Wingate Sandstone forms the cliffs around the structure. Dark brown Moenkopi Formation and White Rim Sandstone (Cutler Group) make up the central hills. Some geologists still prefer the collapsed salt dome interpretation.

Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Distant view west from the rim of Upheaval Dome, with light Navajo Sandstone on the horizon. The Kayenta Formation underlies the vegetated bench on the far side. The lower cliffs are Wingate Sandstone with lighter Chinle Formation at the base of the talus slopes.
Canyonlands National Park Close parallel fractures in Navajo Sandstone near the rim of Upheaval Dome, possibly related to the formation of the structure.
Canyonlands National Park Looking west from just outside the rim, with rounded outcrops of Navajo Sandstone making up the hills.
Canyonlands National Park Rounded light outcrops of Navajo Sandstone on the horizon. The Kayenta Formation underlies the vegetated bench on the far side and makes up the thin-bedded upper parts of the cliffs. The lower cliffs are Wingate Sandstone.

Candlestick Tower Overlook

Views west into the canyon of the Green River. 
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Candlestick Tower
Canyonlands National Park Left: Inner canyon of the Green River.

Below: Desert vegetation.

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Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park

Buck Canyon

Canyonlands National Park Looking east and south into the canyon of the Colorado River. The river itself is not visible.
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Grand View Point

The flat table land is the top of the Cutler Formation. The light sandstone unit forming the canyon edge is called, logically enough, the White Rim Sandstone Member. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park Looking southeast over the LaSal Mountains.
Canyonlands National Park Distant view of closely-jointed sandstone in the southern part of Canyonlands, with the La Sal Mountains beyond.


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Created 7 April 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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