Glen Canyon Group

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Glen Canyon Group
Stratigraphic range: Rhaetian–Toarcian
Glen Canyon Group in southeast Utah. At top are massive beds of Navajo Sandstone separated by thinner beds of the Kayenta Formation from massive beds at bottom of the Wingate Sandstone.
Sub-units(oldest to youngest) Wingate Sandstone, Moenave Formation, Kayenta Formation, Navajo Sandstone
UnderliesSan Rafael Group
OverliesChinle Formation
Coordinates36°56′17″N 111°28′59″W / 36.938°N 111.483°W / 36.938; -111.483
RegionFour Corners
CountryUnited States
Type section
Named forGlen Canyon
Named byGregory and Moore
Glen Canyon Group is located in the United States
Glen Canyon Group
Glen Canyon Group (the United States)
Glen Canyon Group is located in Arizona
Glen Canyon Group
Glen Canyon Group (Arizona)

The Glen Canyon Group is a geologic group of formations that is spread across the U.S. states of Nevada, Utah, northern Arizona, north west New Mexico and western Colorado. It is called the Glen Canyon Sandstone in the Green River Basin of Colorado and Utah.[1]

There are four formations within the group. From oldest to youngest, these are the Wingate Sandstone, Moenave Formation, Kayenta Formation, and Navajo Sandstone.[2] Part of the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range, this group of formations was laid down during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic, with the Triassic-Jurassic boundary within the Wingate Sandstone.[3][4] The top of the Glen Canyon Group is thought to date to the Toarcian stage of the Early Jurassic.[5]

Asterisks (*) below indicate usage by the U.S. Geological Survey.


The Glen Canyon Group consists of extensive eolian deposits of latest Triassic to Early Jurassic age on the Colorado Plateau. These form the spectacular orange canyon walls of Canyonlands National Park and Paria Canyon as well as the unflooded portions of Glen Canyon. Deposition of the Glen Canyon Group ceased in the Middle Jurassic with the transgression of the Sundance Sea, which separated deposition of the Glen Canyon Group from deposition of the overlying San Rafael Group.[6] The Glen Canyon Group is separated from the underlying Chinle Formation by the regional J-0 unconformity, which represents a time of widespread erosion across western North America. The group is likewise separated from the overlying San Rafael Group by the regional J-2 conformity, representing a renewal of widespread erosion.[7]

The Glen Canyon Group was deposited in a foreland basin created by the uplift of the Sevier Mountains in what is now Nevada and eastern Utah. As a result, the formations of the group thicken to the west.[8]

The Kayenta Formation pinches out and disappears to the north, in the Uintah Basin, and the Wingate Sandstone and Navajo Sandstone become indistinguishable. These remaining eolian beds have sometimes been mapped as simply Glen Canyon Formation, but they correlate with the Nugget Sandstone further north, and it has been recommended that they be assigned to the Nugget Sandstone.[9]


The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah that makes up much of the famous prominent rock formations in protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park. From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically-jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone. Picture from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

Group rank (stratigraphic order):[2]

History of investigation[edit]

There is no designated type locality for this group. It was named by Gregory and Moore prior to 1928 for exposures in walls that form the Glen Canyon of the Colorado River in Coconino County, Arizona and San Juan County, Utah, though their report was not published until 1931.[18] The name had by then been published by Gilluly and Reeside, who gave an overview of the group.[19]

In 1936, A.A. Baker reexamined the group and named the Kayenta Formation.[20] The work was revised again in 1955 by Averitt and others. They assigned the Shurtz Sandstone Tongue (new) and Lamb Point Tongue (new) to the Navajo Sandstone, and Cedar City Tongue (new) and Tenney Canyon Tongue (new) to the Kayenta Formation.[17] In 1957 Harshbarger and others created an overview and revision that assigned the Moenave Formation and divided the Wingate Sandstone into the newly named Rock Point and Lukachukai members.[2] In 1963, the upper contact was revised by Phoenix, who moved the uppermost silstone beds of the Navajo Sandstone into the Judd Hollow Tongue of the Carmel Formation.[21] Poole and Stewart mapped the group into the Green River Basin in 1964, treating it here as a single formation.[22] Areal extent limits were revised by Wilson and Stewart in 1967[23] and again by Green in 1974, who added the Iyanbito Member.[24] Peterson and Pipiringos revised the upper contact and created an overview in 1979.[13] In 1989 the age of the group was reexamined by Padian[10] and separately by Dubiel (who also revised the lower contact).[25]

Places found[edit]

Alcove in the Navajo Sandstone near Moab, Utah.

Geologic Province:


Prehistoric animals from the various formations of the Glen Canyon Group include several types of dinosaurs, known from both skeletal remains and tracks. Dinosaur finds in the Wingate and Moenave formations are presently almost entirely tracks. The Kayenta Formation has a diverse skeletal fauna including the theropods "Syntarsus" kayentakatae and Dilophosaurus, the prosauropod Sarahsaurus, an unnamed heterodontosaurid, and the armored dinosaurs Scelidosaurus and Scutellosaurus. The Navajo Sandstone has body fossils of the theropod Segisaurus and an Ammosaurus-like prosauropod, and tracks.[5]

The following summarizes vertebrate fossils and tracks reported in the Glen Canyon Group:

Navajo Sandstone:

Body fossils
Tritylodontidae indet.[26]
Protosuchidae indet.[26]
Segisaurus hallii Camp[26]
Trace fossils

Kayenta Formation:

Body fossils
Hybodontidae incert.[26]
Osteichthyes incert.[26]
Prosalirus bitis Shubin and Jenkins[26]
Eocaecilia micropodia Jenkins and Wash[26]
Kayentachelys aprix Gaffney et al.[26]
Unnamed Heterodontosaur
Trace fossils

Moenave Formation:

Body fossils
Semionotidae incert.[26]
Reptilia indet.[26]
Lepidosauria indet.[26]
Trace fossils

Wingate Sandstone:

Trace fossils:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Rowley, P.D.; Hansen, W.R. (1979). "Geologic map of the Plug Hat quadrangle, Moffat County, Colorado". U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map. GQ-1514. Archived from the original on 19 September 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Harshbarger, J.W.; Repenning, C.A.; Irwin, J.H. (1957). "Stratigraphy of the uppermost Triassic and the Jurassic rocks of the Navajo country". United States Geological Survey Professional Paper. Professional Paper. 291. doi:10.3133/pp291.
  3. ^ Lucas, S. G.; Heckert, A.B.; Estep, J.W.; Anderson, O.J. (1997). "Stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy of the Upper Triassic Chinle Group, Four Corners region" (PDF). New Mexico Geological Society Field Conference Series. 48: 81–107. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  4. ^ Lucas, S.G.; Heckert, A.B.; Tanner, L.H. (2005). "Arizona's Jurassic fossil vertebrates and the age of the Glen Canyon Group". New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. 29: 95–104. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b Weishampel, David B.; Barrett, Paul M.; Coria, Rodolfo A.; Le Loueff, Jean; Xu, Xing Zhao Xijin; Sahni, Ashok; Gomani, Elizabeth M.P.; Noto, Christopher N. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution". In Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; Osmólska, Halszka (eds.). The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 517–606. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  6. ^ Fillmore, Robert (2010). Geological evolution of the Colorado Plateau of eastern Utah and western Colorado, including the San Juan River, Natural Bridges, Canyonlands, Arches, and the Book Cliffs. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-60781-004-9.
  7. ^ Pipiringos, G.N.; O'Sullivan, R.B. (1978). "Principle unconformities in Triassic and Jurassic rocks, western interior United States - a preliminary survey". U.S.G.S. Professional Paper. Professional Paper. 1035-A: A1–A29. doi:10.3133/pp1035A.
  8. ^ Fillmore 2010, pp. 170–180.
  9. ^ Sprinkel, D.A.; Kowallis, B.J.; Jensen, P.H. (2011). "Correlation and age of the Nugget Sandstone and Glen Canyon Group, Utah" (PDF). Utah Geological Association Publication. 40: 131–149. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 October 2021. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e Padian, Kevin (1 May 1989). "Presence of the dinosaur Scelidosaurus indicates Jurassic age for the Kayenta Formation (Glen Canyon Group, northern Arizona)". Geology. 17 (5): 438–441. Bibcode:1989Geo....17..438P. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1989)017<0438:POTDSI>2.3.CO;2.
  11. ^ Cater, F.W.; Craig, L.C. (1970). "Geology of the Salt Anticline region in southwestern Colorado, with a section on stratigraphy". U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper. Professional Paper. 637. doi:10.3133/pp637.
  12. ^ Cooper, Jack C. (1952). "Rattlesnake Oil and Gas Field San Juan County, New Mexico". Geological Symposium of the Four Corners Region. pp. 75–82. Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e Peterson, F.; Pipiringos, G.N. (1979). "Stratigraphic relations of the Navajo Sandstone to Middle Jurassic formations, southern Utah and northern Arizona". United States Geological Survey Professional Paper. Professional Paper. 1035-B. doi:10.3133/pp1035B.
  14. ^ Stephens, Mark (May 1994). "Architectural element analysis within the Kayenta Formation (Lower Jurassic) using ground-probing radar and sedimentological profiling, southwestern Colorado". Sedimentary Geology. 90 (3–4): 179–211. Bibcode:1994SedG...90..179S. doi:10.1016/0037-0738(94)90038-8.
  15. ^ Anderson, R.E.; Hintze, L.F. (1993). "Geologic map of the Dodge Spring quadrangle, Washington County, Utah and Lincoln County, Nevada". U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map. GQ-1721. Archived from the original on 30 October 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  16. ^ Jamison, W.R.; Stearns, D.W. (1982). "Tectonic Deformation of Wingate Sandstone, Colorado National Monument". AAPG Bulletin. 66. doi:10.1306/03B5AC7D-16D1-11D7-8645000102C1865D.
  17. ^ a b Averitt, P.; Detterman, J.S.; Harshbarger, J.W.; Repenning, C.A.; Wilson, R.F. (1955). "Revisions in Correlation and Nomenclature of Triassic and Jurassic Formations in Southwestern Utah and Northern Arizona: GEOLOGICAL NOTES". AAPG Bulletin. 39. doi:10.1306/5CEAE2E9-16BB-11D7-8645000102C1865D.
  18. ^ Gregory, H.E.; Moore, R.C. (1931). "The Kaiparowits Region: A Geographic and Geologic Reconnaissance of Parts of Utah and Arizona". U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper. Professional Paper. 164. doi:10.3133/pp164. hdl:2027/uc1.32106006462755.
  19. ^ Gilluly, J.; Reeside, J.B. Jr. (1928). "Sedimentary rocks of the San Rafael Swell and some adjacent areas in eastern Utah". U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper. Professional Paper. 150-D. doi:10.3133/pp150D.
  20. ^ Baker, A.A. (1936). "Geology of the Monument Valley-Navajo Mountain region, San Juan County, Utah". U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin. 865. doi:10.3133/b865. hdl:2346/66951.
  21. ^ Phoenix, D.A. (1963). "Geology of the Lees Ferry area, Coconino County, Arizona". U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin. 1137. doi:10.3133/b1137.
  22. ^ a b c d Poole, F.G.; Stewart, J.H. (1964). "Chinle Formation and Glen Canyon Sandstone in northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado". U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper. 501-D: D30–D39. doi:10.3133/pp501D.
  23. ^ Wilson, R.F.; Stewart, J.H. (1967). "Correlation of Upper Triassic and Triassic(?) formations between southwestern Utah and southern Nevada". U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin. 1244-D: D1–D20. doi:10.3133/b1244D.
  24. ^ Green, M.W. (1974). "The Iyanbito Member (a new stratigraphic unit) of the Jurassic Entrada Sandstone, Gallup-Grants area, New Mexico". U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin. 1395-D: D1–D12. doi:10.3133/b1395D.
  25. ^ a b Dubiel, R.F. (1989). "Depositional and climatic setting of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, Colorado Plateau". In Lucas, S.G.; Hunt, A.P. (eds.). Dawn of the Age of Dinosaurs in the American Southwest. New Mexico Museum of Natural History. pp. 171–187. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Lucas, S.G.; Heckert, A.B.; Tanner, L.H. (2005). "Arizona's Jurassic fossil vertebrates and the age of the Glen Canyon Group. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin". 29: 94–103. Archived from the original on 2 May 2024. Retrieved 30 October 2021. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ Frederickson, Joseph A.; Davis, Brian M. (May 2017). "First reported actinopterygian from the Navajo Sandstone (Lower Jurassic, Glen Canyon Group) of southern Utah, USA". Journal of Paleontology. 91 (3): 548–553. doi:10.1017/jpa.2017.14. S2CID 134433653.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Smith, J.A.; Santucci, V.L.; Reynolds, R.E. (April 2001). "Vertebrate ichnostratigraphy of the Glen Canyon Group (Jurassic) in Zion National Park, Utah". In Reynolds, R.E. (ed.). The changing face of the east Mojave Desert. 2001 Desert Symposium (PDF). Fullerton: California State University Desert Studies Consortium. pp. 15–19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 November 2023. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  29. ^ Lockley, M.G.; Gierlinkski, G.D. (2014). "A new Otozoum-dominated tracksite in the Glen Canyon Group (Jurassic) of eastern Utah". New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. 62: 211–214. Archived from the original on 2 May 2024. Retrieved 30 October 2021.

External links[edit]