ZION CANYON Area
Zion National Park is located at the western edge of the Colorado Plateau, in eastern Washington County, southwestern Utah, USA. Three areas of the park are readily accessible:
1) the far-northwestern corner (Kolob Canyons area)
2) the northwest-central area (along Kolob Terrace Road/Kolob Reservoir Road)
3) the southern area (vicinity of Zion Canyon)
The Zion area is dominated by relatively undisturbed, ~flat-lying sedimentary rocks of Mesozoic age (Triassic-Jurassic-Cretaceous). Erosion has carved deep canyons, resulting in spectacularly tall cliffs of stunning colors.
The photo above shows the view of Paria Point from along Kolob Canyons Road, in the northwestern corner of Zion Park (see map). Paria Point is part of the Hurricane Cliffs, which occur at the boundary between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin & Range Province.
The tall, sheer cliffs are composed of red-stained quartzose sandstones of the Navajo Sandstone (~Upper Triassic to ~Lower Jurassic). Its maximum thickness in the Zion area is reported to be about 2000'. The red coloration is from hematite staining (Fe2O3). The Navajo Sandstone is an ancient wind-blown (eolian) sand deposit. Occasional dinosaur footprints are found in the Navajo.
Here we have Checkerboard Mesa, named in reference to the squarish structures formed by the intersection of ~horizontal sandstone bedding planes and ~vertical scour channels. The slopes of Checkerboard Mesa are cross-bedded quartzose sandstones of the Navajo Sandstone (~Upper Triassic to ~Lower Jurassic). Cross-bedding is quite apparent in the cliff here.
Checkerboard Mesa is part of the White Cliffs, located in the southeastern portions of Zion Park, along Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (see map).