George Davis | Geology of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park lies along the high eastern escarpment of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in the Colorado Plateau region of southern Utah.  Its extraordinary geological character is expressed by thousands of rock chimneys (hoodoos) that occupy amphitheater-like alcoves in the Pink Cliffs, whose bedrock host is Claron Formation of Eocene age.  The specific location and geologic attributes of Bryce Canyon National Park reflect the geo-historical interplay of (1) deposition of colorful Mesozoic and Cenozoic marine and nonmarine sedimentary rock layers in the Colorado Plateau foreland; (2) multiple faulting of the sedimentary rock column during Laramide (90 to 50 Ma, that is, 90 to 50 million years before present), early Miocene (25 to 20 Ma), and Basin and Range (15 Ma to present) deformations; and (3) the erosional sculpting of the Pink Cliffs by the headwater tributaries of the Paria drainage system.  The interrelationships of these three factors are quite unique, and thus it is not surprising that Bryce Canyon is one of a kind.

[Davis, G.H. and Pollock, G., 2001, Geology of Bryce Canyon National Park,
in Sprinkle, D. (ed.)., Geology of the Utah National Parks and Monuments:
Utah Geological Association, p.37-60.]