Cedar Mesa Sandstone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cedar Mesa Sandstone
Stratigraphic range: Early Permian, 286–245 Ma
Druid Arch. Needles District. Canyonlands UT. (9862534466).jpg

Druid Arch in Canyonlands National Park, an eroded fin of Cedar Mesa Sandstone
TypeGeological member[1]
Unit ofCutler Formation
UnderliesOrgan Rock Shale
OverliesElephant Canyon Formation
Halgaito Member
Coordinates37°23′N 109°55′W / 37.383°N 109.917°W / 37.383; -109.917
RegionColorado Plateau
CountryUnited States
Type section
Named forCedar Mesa
Named byArthur A. Baker
John B. Reeside, Jr., 1929

Cedar Mesa Sandstone (also known as the Cedar Mesa Formation) is a sandstone member[1] of the Cutler Formation, found in southeast Utah, southwest Colorado, northwest New Mexico, and northeast Arizona.[2]

Cedar Mesa Sandstone is the remains of coastal sand dunes deposited about 245–286 million years ago, during the early Permian period.[3] Coloration varies, but the rock often displays a red and white banded appearance as a result of periodic floods which carried iron-rich sediments down from the Uncompahgre Mountains during its formation.[3][4]

Named after topographic Cedar Mesa near the San Juan River in Utah,[2] exposures of Cedar Mesa Sandstone form the spires and canyons found in the Needles and Maze districts of Canyonlands National Park,[3] the inner gorge of White Canyon,[5] and the three natural bridges of Natural Bridges National Monument.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Cutler Formation is sometimes classified as the Cutler Group, in which case Cedar Mesa Sandstone is classified as a formation rather than a member.
  2. ^ a b "Cedar Mesa Sandstone". Park Stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Canyonlands National Park - Cedar Mesa Sandstone". National Park Service. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  4. ^ "Canyonlands National Park - Geologic Formations". National Park Service. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Geological Survey Circular 217 - Preliminary Report on the White Canyon Area, San Juan County, Utah". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Natural Bridges - Geology" (PDF). National Park Service. January 2003. Retrieved 25 November 2009.