Geology of Lake Powell & Glen Canyon

Moab Utah
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With so many different geological formations, Lake Powell, located on the Utah-Arizona boarder, rises up from an ancient birthplace. The Colorado Plateau formed by the endless voyage of the Colorado River houses the blue-black streaked sandstone walls and the yellow and brown, caramel mesa tops that boarder and engulf the startling blue waters of Lake Powell. Read More

The variety of colors and multi-shaped formations make this man-made wonder a monument to the geological artwork etched by the forces of wind, water and erosion. Still in the early stages of formation, the mesas, buttes, arches, pinnacles and amphitheaters, representing the different geological stages of the Lake Powell area of Northern Arizona, surround the contrasting blue waters of the lake.

Completed in 1963, the Glen Canyon Dam created the 186 mile long Lake Powell. The lake's ebb and flow harbors almost 2,000 miles of shoreline. Towering cliffs of sandstone boarder these countless inlets. The oldest or Triassic Period (230 million years ago) and the draining of an inland sea created these pale, orange or red pinnacles of 200 million years ago. Later the yellow and blue- black colors were added to the shear, sandstone walls, compressed sand dunes and the famous Rainbow Arch of the Jurassic Period. But simply stated the lake is surrounded by cliffs, arches and many other formations of gigantic splendor, each a virtual artist's pallet of color. Whatever the period, the Lake Powell region of Northern Arizona unveils a virtual banquet of geological shapes and natural colors.