Cedar Mesa Sandstone

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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
Type Geological member[1]
Unit of Cutler Formation
Underlies Organ Rock Shale
Overlies Elephant Canyon Formation
Halgaito Member
Primary Sandstone
Coordinates 37°23′N 109°55′W / 37.383°N 109.917°W / 37.383; -109.917
Region Colorado Plateau
Country United States
Type section
Named for Cedar Mesa
Named by Arthur 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.