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

White Rim Sandstone

(in Cutler Group)




Figure 1: Paleogeographic map of the Middle Permian, Kaibab Formation. (Blakey, 2008)

Early Permian, 280 million years ago


Depositional Environment:

Coastal dune field (eolian with some marine transgressions)



Sediment deposition was affected by the Uncompahgre uplift , but by the end of the Permian the Uncompahgre mountains had been worn down and was not longer a major sediment source.



The collision of the Gondwana Plate with the North American Plate resulted in the Uncompahgre highland.


Climate: Warm

Warm current winds



The White Rim Sandstone is the upper member of the Permian Cutler Croup of rocks.  The White Rim Sandstone gets its name from the white color that is due to bleaching from hydrocarbons (organic compounds). This formation often creates a white band found along canyon rims where it is often relatively thin. The White Rim Sandstone is a cliff-forming formation consisting of fine- to coarse-grained sandstone (Condon, 1997).  This sandstone commonly displays large scale, high-angle cross-beds (dipping sediment layers) deposited by wind blown dunes. The thickness of this formation ranges from 5 to 75 feet thick (Morris, 2003).  The depositional environment that this was deposited in was a coastal dune field that was intermittently flooded by marine water resulting is some reworking of sediments (Komola and Chan, 1988).  The White Rim Sandstone can be viewed from the Goosenecks Overlook at the bottom of Sulphur Creek Canyon in Capitol Reef National Park.


Sites Best to See it:

Stop 2-8: Goosenecks Overlook as seen at Panorama Point




For a complete list of references please go to the References page.



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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

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