"In the desert, the two primary elements are stone and water. Stone comes in abundance, exposed by weathering and a lack of vegetation. It is a canvas. Water crosses this stone with such rarity and ferocity that it tells all of its secrets in the shapes left behind.” -Craig Childs, The Desert Cries
The Virgin River
The Virgin River and its tributaries run through Zion National Park. This water is the primary agent of erosion that continues to carve and shape Zion.
Though most of the year the Virgin River runs an average of 100 cubic feet per second, it transports about one million tons of sediment every year. Most of this sediment transport occurs during floods, when the river can swell to thousands of cubic feet per second. These flood events can carry large boulders and rip cottonwood trees out of the ground. It is this powerful force of water that continues to carve the canyon.
Last updated: February 24, 2015