Paleogeography (Historical Geology) Research
This is an index page to take a deeper look at locations that have
special significance for the
Evolution of the Colorado River as well as offering scenic attractions
on their own.
The Evolution of the Colorado River (and origin of the
Grand Canyon) is interrelated with the historical geology of many other
locations in the southwestern U.S. Clicking on each of the following
links will display a page containing a computer generated picture(s) of
the area plus a brief description of the pertinent geologic
"Barbed" Tributaries: The Marble Canyon section of the Grand
Canyon has several arroyo/canyons that flow "against the grain" of the
Colorado River drainage. These canyons are all less than 3 million
years old, and a model for their origin/formation is given.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, Colorado: The Black Canyon has the greatest depth to
width ratio of any canyon in the Colorado River system. It appears to
be very young, and there is an impossible contradiction in the
"standard explanation" of its origin. A new model for its origin is
Canyon of Lodore, Colorado: Also shown are Split Mountain and the
highlands of Dinosaur National Monument. The canyon cuts north to south
through the east end of the Uinta Mountain Range. Mountains in this
area exceed 8,000 feet. The highlands had to be much lower when the
Green and Yampa Rivers established their paths as both rivers have
always had alternate escape routes eastward across Wyoming where
elevations have never exceeded 7,000 feet.
Desolation (and Gray) Canyon, Utah: Desolation Canyon and the Tavaputs Plateau
are keys to the change in river patterns that took place about 20 to 25
million years ago. An explanation for the irrational path of the Price
River is also presented.
Dolores River, Colorado: These views show a large portion of the
Dolores River both upstream and downstream from Dolores, Colorado.
Downstream from Dolores, the river turns north-northwest and climbs
over the Dolores Anticline (cuts Dolores Canyon) and continues
northward through Slick Rock.
Flaming Gorge and the eastern Uinta
Mountains, Utah: The Green
River has cut a deep gorge on the north side of the Uintas during the
last 5.4 million years. The river is now dammed to form a large
Glenwood Canyon, Colorado: The Colorado River has cut through the south
side of the White River Plateau producing a 3,000-foot deep canyon.
Gore Canyon, Colorado: The Colorado River has cut a short deep
canyon through the Gore Range. An old high dry valley exists just south
of Gore Canyon where the Blue River once crossed the range but it now
joins the Colorado east of Gore Canyon.
Grand Canyon - Colorado River Gradient: This page shows a graph giving the elevation
and gradient of the Colorado River as it travels through the Grand
Canyon from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead
Grand Canyon Maps: This page contains four 3-D maps showing the
entire Grand Canyon area. Clicking on any map gives an enlarged view.
(Please allow a minute for the pictures to download.)
Harpers Corner - Dinosaur National Monument: In addition to the spectacular view of the
central portion of Dinosaur National Monument, Harpers Corner provides
a key to river systems as they existed 30 million years ago.
Kaibab Plateau: The Kaibab Plateau is the linchpin for the
formation and origin of Grand Canyon. This view shows the Grand Canyon
from east of the Kaibab Plateau westward to Kanab Creek. Also a quick
synopsis is given for the evolution and origin of the Grand Canyon
La Plata Mountains, Colorado: This view shows the La Plata Mountains,
Bridge Timber Mountain and the three canyons that merge to form Mancos
The Little Colorado River: The
Little Colorado River is of interest as it has played a part in both
the oldest and most recent derivation of the Colorado River drainage
system. The page covers several million years of its history as well as
taking a brief look at the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River.
Paria Canyon, Utah and Arizona: The Paria River flows southeastward into the
rising strata and topography of the Paria Plateau instead of taking a
far easier course following highway U. S. 89.
Salina Canyon, Utah: This is where the ancestral Colorado River
flowed until it found a new route through the Grand Canyon about 5.4
million years ago.
San Juan River, Utah: The San Juan River's Goosenecks are a
classic example of river meanders that subsequently eroded straight
downward when canyon cutting took over. Also shown are Cedar Mesa and
Douglas Mesa which are remnants of the old Monument Upwarp, but are now
separated by the San Juan's canyon.
Unaweep Canyon, Colorado: This canyon about 20 miles south of Grand
Junction, Colorado is dry today. However, up to about 7 million years
ago, there was a big river here.
Also please see Grand Canyon Geologic Tour. An end-to-end tour with computer generated
3-D pictures every four miles.
Return to the Evolution of the Colorado River
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