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

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

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Rock Strata

This sequence shows the deposited layers from youngest (top) to oldest (bottom). For clarity, the entire record of visible layers in this area is shown, including those not found in Canyonlands. Older rocks are not exposed in SE Utah, except for Precambrian rocks along the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon. Geologic names are actively debated and vary regionally, so sometimes two names are listed.

You may download the park geology brochure with its detailed stratigraphic (rock layers) column here.

Dominant layers in Canyonlands include Navajo Sandstone through the Paradox Formation.

Name of Rock Strata

Geologic
Period

Millions of
Years Ago

Abajo, Henrys and La Sal Mtns Tertiary

1.6

to

65

Green River Formation
Wasatch/Claron Formation
Mesa Verde Group Cretaceous

65

to

144

Mancos Shale
Dakota Sandstone
Burro Canyon/Cedar Mtn
Morrison Formation Jurassic

144

to

208

Sommerville Formation
Curtis Formation
Entrada Sandstone
Carmel Formation
Navajo Sandstone
Kayenta Formation
Wingate Sandstone
Chinle Formation Triassic

208

to

245

Moenkopi Formation
White Rim

Permian

*Cutler Undivided

245

to

286

Organ Rock Formation
Cedar Mesa Sandstone
Halgaito Shale/Lower Cutler
Honaker Trail Formation Pennsylvanian

286

to

320

Paradox Formation


Did You Know?

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert bighorn sheep live year-round in Canyonlands. These animals make their home along the rivers, negotiating the steep, rocky talus slopes with ease. Once in danger of becoming extinct, desert bighorns are making a tentative comeback thanks to the healthy herds in Canyonlands. More...