NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado and Utah

Geodiversity refers to the full variety of natural geologic (rocks, minerals, sediments, fossils, landforms, and physical processes) and soil resources and processes that occur in the park. A product of the Geologic Resources Inventory, the NPS Geodiversity Atlas delivers information in support of education, Geoconservation, and integrated management of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the ecosystem.

image of hovenweep report cover with ruins image
In-depth geologic information is contained in the baseline inventory products of the Geologic Resources Inventory, see table below.

Geologic Features and Processes

[Site Under Development]

Paleontological Resources

The Jurassic Morrison formation is well exposed and hence the potential for vertebrate dinosaur fossils exists. There are three potentially fossiliferous units in the Morrison, Burro Canyon, and Dakota formations. Fragmants of petrified wood and dinosaur bone have been documented in the park.

All NPS fossil resources are protected under the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11, Title VI, Subtitle D; 16 U.S.C. §§ 470aaa - 470aaa-11).


Biological soil crusts in Hovenweep NM are common throughout the park and contribute to a number of functions in soil ecosystems. Because they are typically concentrated in the top 1- to 4 mm of the surface of the soil, they affect processes that occur at the land surface or soil-air interface. These include improving soil aggregate stability and ability to resist forces of erosion, facilitate atmospheric fixation of nitrogen, provide nutrient contributions to plants, enhance soil-plant-water relations, increase infiltration of water into the soil, and help to preserve soil resistance and resiliency to numerous stressors.

Disturbances to plant communities and the biological soil crusts, through either natural or anthropogenic factors, can ultimately increase the amount of bare soil and increase the potential for accelerated erosion by wind and water, increase the potential establishment of invasive and exotic plant species, and can alter the nutrient cycling capacity of the soil, and significantly impact the soil’s ability to properly function. See Soil Resources Inventory, below.

Geology Field Notes

Students and teachers of college-level (or AP) introductory geology or earth science teaching courses will find that each park's Geologic Resource Inventory report includes the Geologic History, Geologic Setting, and Geologic Features & Processes for the park which provides a useful summary of their overall geologic story. See Maps and Reports, below.

Regional Geology

Hovenweep is a part of the Colorado Plateaus Physiographic Province and shares its geologic history and some characteristic geologic formations with a region that extends well beyond park boundaries.

Maps and Reports

The Geologic Resources Inventory produces digital geologic maps and reports for more than 270 natural resource parks. The products listed below are currently available for this park, check back often for updates as many maps, reports, and posters are still in progress.
  • Scoping summaries are records of scoping meetings where NPS staff and local geologists determined the park’s geologic mapping plan and what content should be included in the report.
  • Digital geologic maps include files for viewing in GIS software, a guide to using the data, and a document with ancillary map information. Newer products also include data viewable in Google Earth and online map services.
  • Reports use the maps to discuss the park’s setting and significance, notable geologic features and processes, geologic resource management issues, and geologic history.
  • Posters are a static view of the GIS data in PDF format. Newer posters include aerial imagery or shaded relief and other park information. They are also included with the reports.
  • Projects list basic information about the program and all products available for a park.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 2903. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

NPS Soil Resources Inventory project has been completed for Hovenweep National Monument and can be found on the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 2974. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

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Hovenweep National Monument

National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas

The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on geoheritage and geodiversity resources and values within the National Park System. This information supports science-based geoconservation and interpretation in the NPS, as well as STEM education in schools, museums, and field camps. The NPS Geologic Resources Division and many parks work with National and International geoconservation communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.

For more information on the NPS Geodiversity Atlas, contact us.

Hovenweep National Monument

Last updated: October 25, 2019