Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps. Dutton divided this layer cake of Earth history into five steps from the youngest (uppermost) rocks:

  • Pink Cliffs,
  • Grey Cliffs,
  • White Cliffs,
  • Vermilion Cliffs, and
  • Chocolate Cliffs.

Since then, modern geologists have further divided Dutton's steps into individual rock formations.



Formations in the Grand Staircase starting with the youngest (uppermost) rocks:

  • Claron Formation
  • Kaiparowits Formation
  • Wahweap Formation
  • Straight Cliffs Formation
  • Tropic Shale
  • Dakota Sandstone
  • Carmel Formation
  • Temple Cap Formation
  • Navajo Formation
  • Kayenta Formation
  • Moenave Formation
  • Chinle Formation
  • Moenkopi Formation
  • Kaibab Limestone
  • Toroweap Formation
  • Coconino Sandstone
  • Hermit Shale
  • Supai Group
  • Surprise Canyon Formation
  • Redwall Limestone
  • Temple Butte Limestone
  • Muav Limestone
  • Bright Angel Shale
  • Tapeats Sandstone


Read more about Grand StaircaseGeology, Paleontology, Gallery

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Famous quotes containing the words staircase and/or grand:

    To be ashamed of one’s immorality: that is a step on the staircase at whose end one is also ashamed of one’s morality.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    “You have a grand gift of silence, Watson,” said he, “it makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930)