Tag Archive for: Fantasy Canyon

“Prowling Coyote” in Fantasy Canyon, Uintah County, Utah
Photographer: Jim Davis

Fantasy Canyon, Uinta Basin, Uintah County, Utah
Photographer: Jim Davis

A sandstone layer within the Eocene-aged Uinta Formation forms a surreal landscape at Fantasy Canyon. Sandwiched between more easily erodible layers of claystone and mudstone, the exposed sandstone has weathered into an intricate rock garden containing over twenty named sculptures, including “Alien Head” in the foreground.

geosights-fanatsy-canyonGeologic Information: The sandstone layer in which the pinnacles, pillars, arches, and knobs of Fantasy Canyon are formed consists of ancient river channel sediments. The underlying and overlying rock layers sandwiching the sandstone layer, and creating scenic badland topography around the canyon, are finer grained floodplain deposits.

During the Eocene Epoch, 55 to 34 million years ago, the Fantasy Canyon area was at the fringe of a vast subtropical lake – Lake Uinta – that at peak level stretched from the Wasatch Plateau to western Colorado. The lake was in a drying phase and retreating westward by the end of the Eocene.