Advertisement

Canyonlands and Arches: Windows on Landscapes in the American Southwest

  • John C. Dixon
Chapter

Abstract

The southwestern United States is characterized by dramatic canyon-dominated sandstone landscapes. The canyons are typically steep-sided and display segmented valley walls reflecting the variable resistance of the rocks into which they are cut. Three broad sets of geomorphic processes are principally responsible for canyon formation: groundwater sapping, fluvial erosion, and salt tectonics. Extensively associated with the sandstone landscapes of the American southwest is the development of spectacular arches and natural bridges. These forms are the result of the structurally controlled dissolution of calcite cements, and subsequent enlargement by removal of loosened grains, boulders, and slabs by wind, gravity, and water.

Keywords

Arches Canyonlands dissolution natural bridges salt tectonics sapping 

References

  1. Ahnert F (1960) The influence of Pleistocene climates upon the morphology of cuesta scarps on the Colorado Plateau. Ann Assoc Amer Geogr 50:139–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradley WC (1963) Large-scale exfoliation in massive sandstone of the Colorado Plateau. Geol Soc Amer Bull 74:519–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cruikshank KM, Aydin A (1994) Role of fracture localization in arch formation, Arches National Park, Utah. Geol Soc Amer Bull 106:879–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Doelling HH (1985) Geology of Arches National Park. Utah Geological and Mineral Survey. Map 74, Accompanying notesGoogle Scholar
  5. Dutton CE (1882) Tertiary history of the Grand Canyon District, with atlas. US Geol Surv Monograph 2Google Scholar
  6. Gilbert GK (1877) Report on the Geology of the Henry Mountains. US Geogr Geol Surv, Rocky Mountain Region 1170.Google Scholar
  7. Goudie AS (2002) Great warm deserts of the world. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Howard AD, Kochel RC (1988) Introduction to cuesta landforms and sapping processes on the Colorado Plateau. In: Howard AD, Kochel RC, Holt HE (eds) Sapping features of the Colorado Plateau: A comparative planetary Geology field guide. NASA, Washington DC, pp 6–59Google Scholar
  9. Hunt CB (1974) Natural regions of the United States and Canada. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Laity J (1988) The role of groundwater sapping in valley evolution on the Colorado Plateau. In: Howard AD, Kochel RC, Holt HE (eds) Sapping features of the Colorado Plateau: A comparative planetary Geology field guide. NASA, Washington DC, pp 63–70Google Scholar
  11. Laity JE, Malin MC (1985) Sapping processes and the development of theater-headed valley networks of the Colorado Plateau. Geol Soc Amer Bull 96:203–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lohman SW (1974) The Geologic story of Canyonlands National Park. US Geol Surv Bull 1327Google Scholar
  13. Lohman SW (1975) The Geologic story of Arches National Park. US Geol Surv Bull 1393Google Scholar
  14. Nicholas RM, Dixon JC (1986) Sandstone scarp form and retreat in the land of standing Rocks, Canyonlands National Park. Z Geomorph NF 30:167–187Google Scholar
  15. Orndorff RL, Wieder RW, Futey DG (2006) Geology underfoot in Southern Utah. Mountain Press, MissoulaGoogle Scholar
  16. Powell JW (1875) Exploration of the Colorado River of the west and its tributaries 1869–1872. US Gov Printing Office, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  17. Stevens DJ, McCarrick JE (1988) The arches of Arches National Park, a comprehensive study: Moab, Utah. Mainstay Publishing, Salt Lake City, UtahGoogle Scholar
  18. Thornbury WD (1965) Regional Geomorphology of the United States. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Young RW, Young A (1992) Sandstone landforms. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

Personalised recommendations