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Portal:Utah

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The Utah Portal

Location of Utah

Utah (/ˈjuːtɑː/ YOO-tah, /ˈjuːtɔː/ (About this soundlisten) YOO-taw) is a state in the western United States. It is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast. Of the fifty U.S. states, Utah is the 13th-largest by area, and with a population over three million, the 30th-most-populous and 11th-least-densely populated. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which is home to roughly two-thirds of the population, and Washington County in the south, with more than 170,000 residents. Most of the western half of Utah lies in the Great Basin.

The territory of modern Utah has been inhabited by various indigenous groups for thousands of years, including the ancient Puebloans, the Navajo, and the Ute. The Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive in the mid-16th century, though the region's difficult geography and climate made it a peripheral part of New Spain and later Mexico. Even while it was part of Mexico, many of Utah's earliest settlers were American, particularly Mormons fleeing marginalization and persecution from the United States. Following the Mexican-American War, it became part of the Utah Territory, which included what is now Colorado and Nevada. Disputes between the dominant Mormon community and the federal government delayed Utah's admission as a state; only after the outlawing of polygamy was it admitted as the 45th, in 1896.

A little more than half of all Utahns are Mormons, the vast majority of whom are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City. Utah is the only state where most of the population belongs to a single church. The LDS Church greatly influences Utahn culture, politics, and daily life, though since the 1990s the state has become more religiously diverse as well as secular.

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Green valley with pink cliffs on sides.
Paria View overlooks an intermittent stream flowing toward the Paria River, some 8 miles (13 km) to the east. About 2 miles (3 km) away is the Paunsaugunt Fault; a normal fault along which the Paria River valley is subsiding on one side while the Paunsaugunt Plateau rises on the other. The pink-colored cliffs, alcoves and amphitheaters along the eroding eastern face of the plateau expose the approximately 50-million-year-old Claron Formation.

The exposed geology of the Bryce Canyon area in Utah shows a record of deposition that covers the last part of the Cretaceous Period and the first half of the Cenozoic era in that part of North America. The ancient depositional environment of the region around what is now Bryce Canyon National Park varied from the warm shallow sea (called the Cretaceous Seaway) in which the Dakota Sandstone and the Tropic Shale were deposited to the cool streams and lakes that contributed sediment to the colorful Claron Formation that dominates the park's amphitheaters.

Other formations were also formed but were mostly eroded following uplift from the Laramide orogeny which started around 70 million years ago (mya). This event created the Rocky Mountains far to the east and helped to close the sea that covered the area. A large part of western North America started to stretch itself into the nearby Basin and Range topography around 15 mya. While not part of this region, the greater Bryce area was stretched into the High Plateaus by the same forces. Uplift of the Colorado Plateaus and the opening of the Gulf of California by 5 mya changed the drainage of the Colorado River and its tributaries, including the Paria River, which is eroding headward in between two plateaus adjacent to the park. The uplift caused the formation of vertical joints which were later preferentially eroded to form the free-standing pinnacles called hoodoos, badlands, and monoliths we see today. Read more...
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Fawn McKay Brodie (September 15, 1915 – January 10, 1981) was an American biographer and one of the first female professors of history at UCLA, who is best known for Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974), a work of psychobiography, and No Man Knows My History (1945), an early biography of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Raised in Utah in a respected, if impoverished, family who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Fawn McKay drifted away from Mormonism during her years of graduate work at the University of Chicago and married Bernard Brodie, an academic who became a national defense expert; they had three children. Although Fawn Brodie eventually became one of the first tenured female professors of history at UCLA, she is best known for her five biographies, four of which incorporate insights from Freudian psychology. Read more...

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The Green River near Canyonlands National Park

The Green River, located in the western United States, is the chief tributary of the Colorado River. The watershed of the river, known as the Green River Basin, covers parts of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. The Green River is 730 miles (1,170 km) long, beginning in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and flowing through Wyoming and Utah for most of its course, except for 40 miles (64 km) into western Colorado. Much of the route is through the Colorado Plateau and through some of the most spectacular canyons in the United States. It is only slightly smaller than the Colorado when the two rivers merge, but typically carries a larger load of silt. The average yearly mean flow of the river at Green River, Utah is 6,121 cubic feet (173.3 m3) per second.

The status of the Green River as a tributary of the Colorado River came about for mainly political reasons. In earlier nomenclature, the Colorado River began at its confluence with the Green River. Above the confluence the Colorado was called the Grand River. In 1921, Colorado U.S. Representative Edward T. Taylor petitioned the Congressional Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce to rename the Grand River as the Colorado River. On July 25, 1921, the name change was made official in House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th Congress, over the objections of representatives from Wyoming and Utah and the United States Geological Survey which noted that the drainage basin of the Green River was more extensive than that of the Grand River, although the Grand carried a higher volume of water at its confluence with the Green. Read more...
Kings Peak - the sharp peak on the right

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Coordinates: 39°18′N 111°36′W / 39.3°N 111.6°W / 39.3; -111.6