This is the view at Capitol Reef National Park looking northward long the western face of the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long warp in the Earth's crust that has literally tipped and exposed about 500 million years of geologic history in central Utah.
From the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the tops of the pink cliffs at Bryce Canyon National Park, nearly 2 billion years of geologic history is on spectacular display in the national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau. That's 2 billion years worth rock layers laid down in orderly progression across the Colorado Plateau and this made this particular area of the North American plate very thick and robust. When the Rocky Mountains formed 70 million years ago, it was due to stresses on the North American tectonic plate that jumbled up most of the geology of western North America- except at the Colorado Plateau, which was so thick and massive, the entire area of southern Utah, SE Colorado, northern Arizona and northern New Mexico was uplifted as one giant block to form the Colorado Plateau that rivers and streams cut the canyons into.
That's why most of the Colorado Plateau is a nice orderly layered group of colorful rock layers. Except at Capitol Reef. As the Rockies formed, tension on the Colorado Plateau from the east reactivated an ancient fault that formed the Waterpocket Fold that tipped up the rock layers in a place that is today unique in the United States.
And remote, too! Most people go to the west, to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, or to the east, to Arches National Park, or to the south, to Grand Canyon. Capitol Reef is remarkably peaceful and untouched compared to the other national parks of the Colorado Plateau.
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