Condensed Geology: Sandstones of Southwest [Map] Four Corners

Spectaular scenery of American southwest is largely defined by massive sandstone cliffs of various age and origin.


Period Age, MYA Formation Origin Place
Paleogene 60-40 Claron 1 lake, floodplain Bruce Canyon, UT Red Canyon, UT Cedar Breaks NM, UT
Paleogene 64-61 Nacimiento 2 lake, floodplain De-Na-Zin, NM
Paleogene 69-64 Ojo Alamo 2 rivers, floodplain De-Na-Zin, NM
Cretaceous 97-94 Dakota seashore Kodachrome Basin, UT Colorado NM, CO Dakota Hogback, CO El Malpais, NM
Jurassic 180-140 Entrada dunes Kodachrome Basin, UT Arches, UT Colorado NM, CO El Malpais, NM 3
Jurassic 169-163 Carmel seashore Kodachrome Basin, UT Toadstools, UT Zion Canyon, UT
Jurassic 191-174 Navajo dunes Valley of Fire, NV 4 Antelope Canyon, AZ Glen Canyon, AZ Horseshoe Bend, AZ Snow Canyon, UT Kolob Canyons, UT Zion Canyon, UT Canyonlands, UT
Triassic 210-200 Wingate dunes Canyonlands, UT Colorado NM, CO
Permian ca 275 Coconino 5 dunes Grand Canyon, AZ Sedona, AZ
Permian 275-270 Schnebly Hill 5 6 seashore Sedona, AZ
Permian 280-270 De Chelly 5 7 dunes Canyon de Chelly, AZ Monument Valley, UT Canyonlands, UT
Permian 286-245 Cedar Mesa 5 dunes Canyonlands, UT Natural Bridges NM, UT
Pennsylvanian 300-290 Fountain streams Garden of the Gods, CO Red Rock, CO



1 Claron formation is technically a limestone interbedded with sandy mudstone, but it is included here because it plays the same scenery-forming role as sandstones everywhere else.

2 Nacimiento and Ojo Alamo sandstones are local to San Juan Basin, NM area.

3 Zuni sandstone in New Mexico is correlated with Entrada sandstone of Utah and Colorado

4 Aztec sandstone in Nevada is correlated with Navajo sandstone of Utah and Colorado

5 It is unclear how the Coconino - Schnebly Hill sequence is aligned relative to the De Chelly - Cedar Mesa sequence.

6 Schnebly Hill sandstone is local to Sedona, AZ area.

7 White Rim sandstone of Canyonlands, UT is considered to be equivalent to and continuous with De Chelly sandstone.


Halka Chronic Roadside Geology of Arizona (Roadside Geology Series) Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1983, ISBN: 0-87842-147-5

Halka Chronic Roadside Geology of New Mexico (Roadside Geology Series) Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1987, ISBN: 0-87842-209-9

Halka Chronic Roadside Geology of Utah (Roadside Geology Series) Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1990, ISBN: 0-87842-228-5

Halka Chronic, Felicie Williams Roadside Geology of Colorado (Roadside Geology Series) Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2002, ISBN: 0-87842-447-4




© November 6, 2014, Yuri Wolf /