Rock Layers

Sedimentary rock layers of Zion, as viewed from town of Rockville
Zion's sedimentary rock layers

NPS photo/Adrienne Fitzgerald

Most of the rocks in Zion National Park are sedimentary rocks –made of bits and pieces of older rocks that have been weathered, eroded, and deposited in layers. These rock layers hold stories of ancient environments and inhabitants very different from those found in Zion today. In this distant past, Zion and the Colorado Plateau were near sea level, and were even in a different place on the globe—close to the equator. The rock layers found in Zion today were deposited between approximately 110 –270 million years ago –only in recent geologic time have they been uplifted and eroded to form the scenery of Zion National Park.

To learn about the history revealed by each of Zion's rock layers, and where they can be found in the park, click on the formation names beneath the stratigraphic column (below).
graphic of stratigraphic column showing Zion's sedimentary layers

Image by Geoscientist-In-the Park David Tarailo, sponsored by the Geological Society of America, GeoCorps Program, 2012.


Zion's rock layers, from youngest to oldest:

Cedar Mountain Formation

Carmel Formation

Temple Cap Formation

Navajo Sandstone

Kayenta Formation

Moenave Formation

Chinle Formation

Moenkopi Formation

Kaibab Formation

Zion also has some geologically young volcanic rocks, which cap the older sedimentary layers.

Return to the main Geology page


Geology pages created with David Tarailo and Scott Ireland, interns with the NPS Geoscientists-in-the-Parks program, run in partnership with The Geological Society of America's GeoCorps America Program.

Last updated: January 17, 2021

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Springdale , UT 84767


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