Erosion

Erosion of the Colorado plateau has left a network of canyons, mesas, and spires. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Scales of Time

Hundreds of millions of years were needed for the Colorado plateau to accumulate its material under an ocean. Hundreds of million more were needed to expose it to the atmosphere, when erosion would carve canyons and spires into its surface. Plants and animals would evolve over this time, adapting or dying out with the changing conditions. Humans are the latest inhabitants in this history. Click on the image for a larger view

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Goosenecks State Park

Goosenecks State Park in Utah is an entrenched river meander cut into the Colorado Plateau by the San Jan River. The river flows six miles through the canyon, but only advances one and a half miles because of the curves. Monument Valley in Arizona is south of this location and its rock spires can be seen at the horizon in the middle frame. Click on the image for a larger view.