Sunday, January 01, 2006

Zion: Paradise Found

A quiet stroll through Echo Canyon.

Zion is an ancient Hebrew word, originally used to describe a dry rocky place of holy sanctuary in ancient Israel. How fitting it is that today this same word should be associated with the towering cathedrals and temples of brightly colored stone we call Zion National Park.

West Temple of Zion from the air.

The colorful rock layers of Zion were originally deposited in a series of swamps, rivers, forests and a vast sand-dune desert. Remains of fossil fish, dinosaur tracks and petrified wood all bear testimony to the various environments that have moved back and forth across this landscape throughout geologic time.

A colorful outcrop of the Moenave formation on Bridge Mountain.

Tectonic activity over the past several million years has abruptly uplifted these long-buried beds along the nearby Hurricane Fault. The cutting power of the Virgin River and its tributaries erodes into these rapidly rising layers creating the canyons and cliffs we see today. The geologic processes that have created Zion are still actively at work and invite curiosity from all who view the spectacle.

Dinosaur track in Zion Canyon.

A winter sunset casts its spell on the Virgin River and Watchman Mountain.


starhobbit said...

Yay,a new entry! Gorgeous pictures, I miss the Utah sunsets. I never saw dinosaur tracks at Zion, or fish fossils that I can remember. Checking in after on-line classes, this is a much better topic. I messed up my address too, it's .net, not .com. Happy weekend!

We See Utah said...

Glad that you like it starhobbit.

SnyderGator said...

Thanks for the blog. We're planning to make that trip and this was very helpful!