Canyons of The Escalante - Geology

Geology

The sandstone layers now exposed in the Canyons of the Escalante were deposited during the Mesozoic era, 180 to 225 million years ago, when this area was part of a large area of sand dunes. Near the end of the Cretaceous period, about 80 million years ago, the entire western section of North America entered an era of uplift and mountain-building, an event known as the Laramide orogeny. More recently, additional uplift formed the Colorado Plateau province. These episodes of uplift raised the Aquarius Plateau to the extent that there were strong erosional forces acting on the Escalante River Basin. Wetter climates during the recent ice ages of the Pleistocene period contributed to deep cutting of the canyon walls.

Additional details on the geology of the area can be found in the articles Geology of the Capitol Reef area and Geology of the Bryce Canyon area. Sandstone exposed in canyons nearer to the Colorado River are typically from the Glen Canyon Group. The dark red cliffs of Coyote Gulch, for example, are composed of Navajo Sandstone. The lighter sandstone domes of Dance Hall Rock and Sooner Rocks are formed from the higher Entrada sandstone layer. Due to tilting of layers throughout the area, sandstone exposed at higher elevations near the town of Escalante (e.g. Deer Creek) may actually be from a lower layer, Wingate Sandstone.

Read more about this topic:  Canyons Of The Escalante

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