The Grand Staircase



The Earth’s history is one of complete uniqueness. Over millions and millions of years, this land has formed and has had to reform itself into what it is now. No two places on this earth are the same. One of the many geological formations in Northern Arizona is the Grand Staircase. A vast succession of sedimentary rock layers that spans south of Bryce Canyon National Park, through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon National Park.

 

 

Geologist Clarence Dutton had come up with the concept that this region specifically was formed like a huge stairway that emerges from beneath the Grand Canyon, with protruding cliff edges forming what looks like giant steps. Dutton divided this layer of earths’ history into 5 steps starting from youngest (uppermost) rocks: 

  • Pink Cliffs

  • Grey Cliffs 

  • White Cliffs

  • Vermilion Cliffs 

  • Chocolate Cliffs

Since Dutton’s claim on this region, modern geologists have further divided these steps into individual rock formations such as Claron Formation, Dakota Formation, Navajo and Wahweap formations, just to name a few. Kaibab Limestone and Coconino Sandstone are also the two primary types of sedimentary rocks that make up these formations.  

 

 

 

What is truly peculiar is the way the earth is able to not only tell but preserve its own geological history by forming and reforming itself into new structures throughout many many years. So the next time you’re enjoying a hike through this area, keep in mind that you’re basically inside a history book. Layer by layer you’re turning the pages of one of Earth's greatest creations. 

 


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