Flat Iron Mesa in San Juan County

545 Words Jan 31st, 2018 2 Pages
It is surrounded by the Hatch Wash Canyon to the west and the La Sal mountain range towards the east. The vast features of the mesa and surrounding canyons demonstrate the remarkable effects of millions of years of erosion on a landscape of mostly sedimentary rock. The mesa’s extensive landscape is covered with biological soil crust as well as an abundance of ephemeral pools. The potholes throughout the mesa are naturally occurring basins in deposits of sandstone that progressively collect rainwater and wind-blown sediment which gradually erode the underlying rock; leaving a series of circular impressions along the mesa’s floor. Weathering, geologic processes such as erosion, and climatic shifts allow for this immense desert ecosystem to continually evolve and change which has taken place for millions of years. This geologically wealthy environment is composed of alternating flat-lying layers of soft and hard deposits of mostly sedimentary rocks. Interchanging slopes and cliffs along the landscape helped form these layers of rock which can be seen fully exposed in areas of the mesa. Deposition of this landscape mainly occurred during the Permian, Pennsylvanian, Triassic and Jurassic time periods. The assortment of warm hues of sandstone were produced by varying levels of iron oxide minerals during formation. For hundreds of millions of years, geologic material…
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