Sandstone Cliffs of Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
May 22, 2007.
There are several campgrounds available in the Fruita / Grand Junction area. We chose Monument RV-Park just because we needed to easily & quickly get into the campground and head out to experience Colorado National Monument. Monument RV-Park is a good clean park but at at $35 price tag. They do have location ---- like, within a mile of the western entrance to Colorado National Monument. The Colorado River State Park is located directly across the street from Monument RV-Park. I think we would probably stay in the State Park on a return trip if for no other reason than cost.
The road is dropping on about a 7% grade while it is evident this rock formation is dropping at a much steeper rate. In this instance these rocks are being bent by pressures deep within the earth.
Sometimes the rock bends along fault lines other times it breaks.
This is a picture of the sandstone cliff we are climbing.
Exposed layers Wingate sandstone sedimentary rock in Colorado National Monument
As we climb we are going through layer upon layer of sedimentary rock exposing 100s of millions of years of geology. As we climb remember that the rock layers are becoming younger and younger.
It isn't easy to construct a highway up these vertical cliffs. On occasion engineers have to employee tunnels like these.
Colorado National Monument along I-70 in western Colorado near Fruita & Grand Junction
Graphic of sedimentary layers present in Colorado National Monument
Note the caprock protecting the softer sandstone formation under it.
Wingate Sandstone with a tip of Kayenta formation
The dark substance on this sandstone wall is Desert Varnish.
Grand Junction Valley and fault line as seen from Colorado National Monument
Afternoon rainstorm over the Grand Junction valley.
Kayenta Formation is the caprock protecting the softer
Wingate Sandstone beneath the caprock
Sandstone weathers into unusual shapes. Here a ridge between two canyons is eroding into a series of domes. The key factor in shaping these adjacent monoliths is the upper layer of harder rock (Kayenta Formation). This caprock layer is breakable, but resistant to erosion. Where the cap layer remains, the softer rock (Wingate Sandstone) beneath is protected; where it has broken away, the underlying formation has rapidly eroded to a rounded form.
How many years will it take for these formations to take on the dome shapes of the formations above? But even a novice can see how the harder Kayenta formation caprock protects the softer Wingate Sandstone.
This is Red Canyon on the eastern side of Colorado National Monument. This view is looking north into the valley and Grand Junction, Colorado in the distance.
Joyce took this picture of Grand Junction, in the valley and an awesome switchback visible several hundred feet below as we snake our way down the cliff face on the eastern side of Colorado National Monument.
Impressive road cut through Wingate Sandstone in Colorado National Monument
Deep road cuts were employed in some places in the place of tunnels. This is one impressive roadcut.
These are some of our other Travel Logs in this area:
Mike & Joyce Hendrix
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Until next time remember how good life is.