Moenave Formation

Paleoenvironment of Moenave Fm. ~200 Ma
Depiction of the Colorado Plateau region during the deposition of the Moenave Formation, ~200 million years ago. Location of Zion National Park is starred.

Paleogeographic map courtesy of Ron Blakey, Colorado Plateau Geosystems, Inc.

outcrop of multiple thin layers of Moenave Formation
Thinly-bedded layers of the Moenave

NPS photo/Adrienne Fitzgerald

Late Triassic-Early Jurassic
~210–195 million years ago

The Moenave Formation consists of thin layers of reddish-brown sandstone, siltstone, and varicolored mudstone deposited in streams, floodplains, and lakes.

The Moenave Formation is visible in lower Zion Canyon as the steep, easily eroded, reddish hillside leading up to the cliff band of the Springdale Sandstone. Good exposures can also be seen along the Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive.
Moenave Formation and Springdale Sandstone
Outcrop in lower Zion Canyon, near the Human History Museum

NPS photo/David Tarailo, Geologist-In-the-Park

Dinosaur footprints are sometimes found in the Moenave Formation, left behind by dinosaurs walking in the muddy sediments in and around the ancient streams and rivers. Exceptional dinosaur trackways are found in the Moenave formation around St. George, Utah, where dinosaurs congregated on the shore of an ancient lake –these can be seen at the Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.

Fossils of fish and ancient plants have also been discovered in the Moenave Formation

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Last updated: July 6, 2015

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