This location is by a NPS informational panel with parking space for a few cars.
As the informational panel shows, these valleys once continued across a flat landscape. Normal erosional processes of flowing water created a V-shaped valley cut into the rare joints (cracks in rocks along which no movement has occurred) in the Navajo Sandstone.
One of the more common ways that sedimentary rocks form joints is from a release of pressure. This pressure comes from the weight of the rock and soil above them. As the rock is eroded away, the pressure on the rock below is reduced. With less pressure, the rock expands and cracks. It is similar to an ice cube that cracks when put in water.
Then a fault formed cutting across the valleys. One side of the fault was uplifted relative to the other, leaving the end of the valleys up in the middle of these cliffs. This uplift is likely related to the Hurricane Fault and the regional uplift of the Colorado Plateau.
This process of hanging valley formation is different from the way the hanging valleys of Zion Canyon and Yosemite were formed, even though the ending geomorphology is so similar.
These hanging valleys produce spectacular waterfalls when water does flow through them. When no water is flowing, the hanging valleys can be identified by the dark streaks on the cliff face.
Send me a note with :
- The text "GC171QQ Hanging Valleys of Kolob Canyon" on the first line
- The number of people in your group.
- How many hanging valleys can be easily seen from the coordinates?
- What causes the dark streaks on the cliff face below each hanging valley?
- Are you on the side of the fault that was uplifted?
The above information was compiled from the following sources:
- Miek, Robert F., et. al., Geology of Zion National Park, Utah in Geology of Utah’s Parks and Monuments, 2003 Utah Geological Association Publication 28 (second edition) D.A. Sprinkel, T.C. Chidsey, Jr. and P.B. Anderson, editors
- NPS Informational Panel
Placement approved by the
Zion National Park