Remnants of a Frozen Sahara

Navajo Standstone

Remnants of a Frozen Sahara The pale rock you see here is Navajo sandstone. This rock caps the top of the Vermilion Cliffs for more than 80 miles. Navajo sandstone also forms the high canyon walls at Zion National Park.

Imagine an enormous Sahara-like desert, full of wind-blown sand dunes, stretching from today’s Wyoming to southern California. Geologists theorize that such a desert became the Navajo sandstone. When covered by a vast inland sea, that desert solidified in place. Minerals like calcium and iron cemented the ancient dunes together.

Along the Vermilion Cliffs and in Zion National Park the Navajo sandstone formation can be more than 2,000 feet thick.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Pipe Spring National Monument
HC 65 Box 5
406 Pipe Springs Road

Fredonia, AZ 86022


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