Overview of Capitol Reef NP     Geology of Capitol Reef NP      Stops of Capitol Reef NP


   

 

Capitol Reef National Park: Geological Overview

        Capitol Reef National Park is situated on the edge of the Colorado Plateau; a physiogeographic province centered roughly on the Four Corners area of the western US. The Colorado Plateau is characterized by a nearly complete section of sedimentary rock units ranging in age from Late Permian (~275 Ma) to Early Tertiary (~60 Ma) (Smith et al., 1963; Billingsly et al., 1987; Morris et al., 2003). Uplift and erosion began ~70-50 Ma during the Laramide orogeny (mountain building event) that created the 100 mile long, N-S striking monocline known as the Waterpocket Fold (Mathis, 2000; Morris et al., 2003). Downcutting along the monocline has created canyons and exposed the sedimentary layers that tell the paleogeographic story of the western US during the Mesozoic era. Volcanics during the Middle Tertiary (~30-20 Ma) and again in the Late Tertiary (~6.4 Ma) covered the strata with basalt and remnant black boulders can be seen throughout the park (Delaney and Gartner, 1997; Mathis, 2000; Morris et al., 2003).

        The purpose of this website is to document sedimentary structures (and other outcrop scale features) and interpret depositional environments of the rock formations in Capitol Reef and other nearby areas. We examine primary sedimentary structures such as bedding, trace fossils and soft sediment deformation. Secondary (diagenetic) features are also identified such as iron and uranium precipitation by groundwaters with different chemistries. Geomorphic and weathering features like hoodoos and honeycomb weathering patterns are also highlighted.

Click the button below for the geology of Capitol Reef     Click the button below for stops to visit in Capitol Reef     Click the button below for a PDF of this site
Geology of Capitol Reef NP   Stops of Capitol Reef NP   PDF of Capitol Reef website

References page          STAR Home          Geology & Geophysics Home

 


 

A pdf version of this website is available on the Main Page

 

Disclaimer: The information is property of the University of Utah. Unless cited, images and files found on this site have been taken or created by the Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Utah. Any use of these images should be cited appropriately. The stratigraphic column is from: Mathis, A. C. 2000. Capitol Reef National Park and Vicinity Geologic Road Logs, Utah, in: P.B. Anderson and D.A. Sprinkel (eds.) Geologic Road, Trail, and Lake Guides to Utah’s Parks and Monuments Utah Geological Association Publication 29. http://www.utahgeology.org/uga29Titles.htm

Copyright (c) 2011, Geology and Geophysics Department, The University of Utah

 

Site Map