Mesa Verde National Park On The Colorado Plateau

1218 Words Sep 22nd, 2016 5 Pages
Mesa Verde National Park on the Colorado Plateau contains many geological aspects of interest, including its sedimentary rock layers, its canyons, its alcoves utilized by ancient people and how these alcoves were formed. Mesa Verde National Park is located in the southwest corner of Colorado, close to the Four Corners area, on top of a high mesa overlooking the Mancos River (Harris et al. 2004). The park, covering 81 square miles, consists of several main sedimentary formations that are characteristic to the park (Encyclopedia Britannica 2015). Canyons are carved into the sedimentary rock, with the cave dwellings found high on their steep walls. These dwellings are an especially unique aspect to the Mesa Verde National Park, and are built out of large alcoves. The alcoves were produced by weathering and erosion of the sedimentary rock type. To better understand how these alcoves formed, we must understand the geology of Mesa Verde National Park and how it has developed over history.

First, we must examine the sedimentary formations; when they were formed, how they were formed, and what materials they consist of. About ninety-three to one hundred million years ago, the Western Interior Seaway rolled through the North American continent, eventually reaching the geographical area of today’s Mesa Verde National Park (National Park Service 2005). This sea deposited a thick, hard sandstone base that is called Dakota Sandstone, although this layer is not exposed in the park…
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