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The Geology of Western National Parks: Capitol Reef, Utah

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, December 4, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1NV053
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Materials for this program

Capitol Reef National Park

Geologist Kirt Kempter leads his final series into the geology of Western National Parks for 2023, with an in-depth look at one or more locations every month. Each program’s content is enhanced by geologic maps, photos, and Google Earth flyovers to reinforce geologic concepts and interpretations.

Session Information

Capitol Reef, Utah

Capitol Reef, established as a National Park in 1971, follows the axis of a geologic feature called the Waterpocket Fold, where folded geologic strata create a rocky spine for almost 100 miles. Geologic strata from the Mesozoic Era are the star attractions within the park, including the massive Navajo sandstone from the Early Jurassic Period. Erosion of this formation to create white-to-beige sandstone domes, reminiscent of the United States Capitol, give the park its name. The Waterpocket Fold has long presented a north–south barrier for human travelers, and few roads even today cross from west to east. The park includes canyons, cliffs, and arches, and the Freemont River has carved a splendid cross-section through the northern portion of the fold.

Additional Geology of Western National Parks Programs

General Information

Inside Science