Canyon In A Canyon
While this might look like a glacial U-shaped valley, it is not. It is a canyon formed by flowing water. The story is one of different rocks responding to erosion in different ways.
Notice how the profile of this canyon "frames" the City of Grand Junction. The unobstructed view reflects a dramatic drop in elevation between where you now stand and the city below. While the Colorado River "quickly" eroded the Mancos Shale in the valley, tributary streams in the canyons eroded harder rock more slowly. The difference in elevation between the Grand Valley and the Monument's canyons grew, leaving "hanging canyons" such as this one.
A Shapely Story
Once the canyon's stream carved through the softer sedimentary layers of the Kayenta, Wingate, and Chinle Formations, it reached the hard basement rock of the canyon floor. Downward erosion almost stopped while horizontal erosion continued. At the far end of the canyon, where the valley floor dips downward and the stream flows faster, a prominent notch was eventually carved. Rockfall from adjacent cliffs and sand and gravel from upstream currently cover
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Natural Features.
Location. 39° 1.85′ N, 108° 41.178′ W. Marker is in Colorado National Monument, Colorado, in Mesa County. Marker is at the Red Canyon Overlook along Rim Rock Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fruita CO 81521, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Upper Serpents Trail (approx. 2.2 miles away); Rocky Roads (approx. 3 miles away); The Shapes of Erosion (approx. 3.9 miles away); Tragedies on Rim Rock Drive (approx. 4.6 miles away); Ancient Environments (approx. 4.6 miles away); The Grand View (approx. 4.6 miles away); The Shape of Independence (approx. 5 miles away); Climbing Independence (approx. 5 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colorado National Monument.
Also see . . .
1. Colorado National Monument. (Submitted on November 11, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Geologic Story of Colorado National Monument (USGS).
3. Geologic Map of Colorado National Monument and Adjacent Areas, Mesa County, Colorado. (Submitted on November 11, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 60 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 11, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.