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The Book Cliffs are a series of desert mountains and cliffs in western Colorado and eastern Utah, in the western United States. They are so named because the cliffs of Cretaceous sandstone that cap many of the south-facing buttes appear similar to a shelf of books.
Description and history
Stretching nearly 200 miles from east to west, the Book Cliffs begins where the Colorado River descends south through De Beque Canyon into the Grand Valley (near Palisade, Colorado) to Price Canyon (near Helper, Utah). The Book Cliffs appear mostly along the southern and western edge of the Tavaputs Plateau. The cliffs are largely composed of sedimentary materials. The Book Cliffs are within the Colorado Plateau geologic province.
In the Colorado stretch of the Book Cliffs, abandoned coal mines are present, as significant coal resources were present in the region. These mines are now generally capped for safety, but several fatalities of recreational hikers have occurred at these mines since 1989 (due to lack of oxygen/CO2 gas inhalation).
The Book Cliffs are one of the world's best places to study sequence stratigraphy. In the 1980s, Exxon scientists used the Cretaceous strata of the Book Cliffs to develop the science of sequence stratigraphy. The Book Cliffs have preserved excellent strata of the foreland basin of the ancient Western Interior Seaway that stretched north from the Gulf of Mexico to the Yukon in the Cretaceous time. Components of deltaic and shallow marine reservoirs are very well preserved in the Book Cliffs.
In January, 2009, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials transplanted 31 bison from the Henry Mountains bison herd to the Book Cliffs. The new group joined 14 animals previously released in August, 2008 from a private herd on the nearby Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Since this herd is located approximately 100 miles north of the Henry Mountains, across mostly harsh, desert terrain, it should perhaps be considered as a separate herd, the Book Cliffs bison herd.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Book Cliffs.|
- Cretaceous Paleogeography - Showing Western Interior Seaway
- The Soils of Western Colorado Mesa, Delta and Montrose Counties