Photo Gallery of
      Some of My Favorite Geological Localities in the American Southwest IV

All photos by Jim Reynolds

Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah, is divided into three areas separated by the Colorado and Green Rivers. The Maze lies to the west of the rivers and is undeveloped. The Island in the Sky area is situated between the two rivers north of their confluence. Finally, the Needles area is on the east side of the Colorado River south of Moab. This photo of the Colorado River was taken from the Grandview overlook in the Island in the Sky area.

Along the road into the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park is Newspaper Rock. It is one of many locations in the area where numerous petroglyphs were left by indigenous peoples over the centuries.

This valley in the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park appeared in numerous westerns.

One of the world's premiere dinosaur museums is located in Blanding, Utah. This image shows an attacking Tarbosaurus bataar, the Mongolian cousin of Tyranosaurus rex.

The Goosenecks of the San Juan River are seen from an overlook at Goosenecks State Park, Utah. The San Juan River is a major tributary of the Colorado River that crosses southeastern Utah. Like the Colorado River, it incised deep into the Colorado Plateau as the plateau began to rise. Because of this entrenchment, the broad meanders of the ancient rivercourse that developed on a relatively flat floodplain are now preserved in this spectacular canyon where three major meanders can be viewed. The sandstones and shales seen here are Permian strata that were deposited at the same time as the limestones at the top of the Grand Canyon.

Monument Valley, Utah is situated on the Navajo tribal land. The rock was sculpted by ancient rivers that meandered through the area. On rare days, no commercials or movies are being filmed.

Most of the monuments in Monument Valley were cut from the two formations seen here. The Upper Triassic Chinle Formation forms the slope at the base. The oldest known dinosaurs in North America (Coelophysis) were found in these strata at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico. The vertical cliffs are formed in the Lower Jurassic Wingate Sandstone. Some monuments, however, are volcanic necks called diatremes. They formed as volcanic rock from deep within the earth rapidly rose to the surface and solidified within the volcanic conduit. Because volcanic rocks are generally more resistant to erosion, they remained standing after the sedimentary rocks were worn away.


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Last updated February 21, 2006