Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures - Walnut Canyon

My next post about the Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures is...

You can find more Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures as well as my Geological State Symbols Across America series at my website

Walnut Canyon is a archaeological site located within a geological site. The canyon itself is made up of several Colorado Plateau rock units that were impacted, like several other National Parks in the area, by the uplift of the Colorado Plateau. The canyon is capped with the Permian Kaibab Formation limestone, forming a layer resistant to erosion. The shelters created within the rocks are located within a shale and siltstone layer of the Kaibab Formation beneath this limestone roof. 

Below the Kaibab Formation is the Coconino Sandstone and Toroweap Formation. These rock units are often difficult to differentiate from each other so they tend to blend together within the park.

Here you can see a view of the canyon with the alternating hard and soft rock formation.

View of the cliff dwellings built into the carved out section of the rocks.

Some more cliff dwellings.

And more cliff dwellings with a more complete wall located on the other side of the creek meander.

Following the trail around the houses, the trail goes back up the canyon.

Here is the Coconino Sandstone which underlies the Kaibab Formation. The cross-bedding is characteristic of the unit and illustrates the former desert dune history of the rock units. 

A view of Walnut Creek, which carved out the canyon through the rock units. The cliff dwellings are located within the meander on the right side of the photo.

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