• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Extreme Fire Danger

    Due to extremely dry conditions, fire restrictions are in effect in all national park units in Utah. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

Paradox Formation

Grabens caused by movement in the Paradox Formation
Movements in the Paradox Formation cause dramatic changes on the surface, such as the creation of grabens.
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

Deposited:
Pennsylvanian Period (286 to 320 million years ago)

Depositional Environment:
Evaporites (salts) from landlocked seas

Appearance:
Salt and Gypsum with black shales

Examples:
Pockets are exposed along the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon

Note:
The Paradox Formation has played a large role in shaping the landscape of southeast Utah, especially around Arches and Canyonlands. When conditions are right, the weight of overlying rock causes the deposits in the Paradox Formation to liquefy and flow through whatever channels offer the least resistance. This subsurface movement can have drastic effects on the surface, causing rock layers to uplift or sink and fracture under the stress. This sets the stage for the creation of arches, grabens, and needles.

Did You Know?

Pinyon Pine

Pinyon pines do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new pine trees instead of a quick meal. More...