The La Plata Mountains as seen from above the authorís

Durango Bill's

Paleogeography (Historical Geology) Research

Image Index

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 significance.

"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 given.

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 reservoir.

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 Canyon.

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 page.

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