Desert primrose blooms in thin, gravelly soil along the White Rim Trail. The Permian-aged White Rim Sandstone forms a broad, nearly flat bench above the adjacent Green and Colorado Rivers and below towering cliffs (visible in the distance) of the Triassic-Jurassic-aged Wingate Sandstone and thin cap of Jurassic Kayenta Formation. In the middle distance, Candlestick Tower consists of Kayenta Formation and Wingate Sandstone above sloping Chinle Formation (Triassic) on a base of Moenkopi Formation (Triassic), which overlies the White Rim Sandstone. The gentle tilt of the strata reflects their location on the southwestern flank of the broad downwarp of the Grays Pasture syncline.
Slickrock Trail near Moab, Grand County, Utah
Photographer: Jim Davis
Giant weathering pits or potholes like this one (about 16 feet across at the bottom) in the Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone typically form along fractures and joints atop fins, knolls, and rounded domes. Potholes are created through a combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes that weather and erode the rock and are home to a remarkable array of ancient aquatic organisms.
Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Kane County, Utah
Photographer: Tyler Knudsen
The narrow defile of Round Valley Draw exposes layers of ancient petrified dunes of the Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone. This is one of numerous slot canyons in Utah’s canyon country formed by the scouring action of infrequent but powerful flood waters.
Mount Timpanogos, Wasatch Range, Utah County, Utah
Photographer: Jason Berry
Thousands of years of precipitation, wind, and glacial erosion have sculpted the east face of the Mount Timpanogos massif. The steep cliffs and snow-covered ledges of the Oquirrh Formation exposed on Roberts Horn (10,953 feet) are reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies.
Prominent cliffs of gently dipping Mississippian-age Deseret (upper) and Gardison (lower) Limestone are exposed along the walls of Ogden Canyon. These strata are part of a thrust sheet emplaced during the Sevier orogeny, a regional mountain-building event that affected much of western Utah between about 140 and 50 million years ago.