Explore Geology
geology fieldnotes title


National Monument


cover of park brochure

park geology subheading
Parashant National Monument, Arizona

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, located on the northern edge of the Grand Canyon, was established by presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000. This remote undeveloped area is a biologically diverse, impressive landscape that includes an array of scientific, cultural, and historic resources.

The story of this land is rich and long. Two billion years of geological history and more than 11,000 years of human history have shaped the land and its people, resulting in natural splendor and a sense of solitude in an area that remains remote and unspoiled.

The monument is a geological treasure. The sedimentary rock layers of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic times (600 million - 66 million years ago) are relatively un-deformed and un-obscured by vegetation. Layers of rock formations have been exposed by the eroding of the Colorado River, providing a clear view of the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau and testifying to the power of geologic forces. The prominent cliffs of two major faults sever the Colorado Plateau in this area. The Grand Wash Cliffs and the Hurricane Cliffs, slicing north and south through the region, have proved to be major topographic barriers to travel across the area. Displacements from the faults that created these cliffs are in the order of thousands of feet. Movement along both of these faults began in the Miocene and continued to the Pliocene on the Grand Wash Fault and to the Holocene on the Hurricane Fault. The Grand Wash Cliffs also form a spectacular boundary between tortured, tilted lands of the Basin and Range province and the horizontal layers of the Colorado Plateau province.

At the south end of the Shivwits Plateau, several tributaries of the Colorado River have carved the spectacular Parashant, Andrus, and Whitmore Canyons. Volcanic rocks and an array of cinder cones and basalt flows are evidence of more recent (9 million to 1,000 years ago) volcanic events that shaped this land. During the time lava flowed into the Grand Canyon at the Whitmore and Toroweap areas and dammed the river many times during the past several million years. The Shivwits Plateau is the westernmost part of the Colorado Plateau province; it is underlain by Paleozoic strata.

park maps subheading

The General park map handed out at the visitor center is available on the park's map webpage.

For information about topographic maps, geologic maps, and geologic data sets, please see the geologic maps page.

photo album subheading

A geology photo album has not been prepared for this park.

For information on other photo collections featuring National Park geology, please see the Image Sources page.

books, videos, cds subheading

Currently, we do not have a listing for a park-specific geoscience book. The park's geology may be described in regional or state geology texts.

Please visit the Geology Books and Media webpage for additional sources such as text books, theme books, CD ROMs, and technical reports.

Parks and Plates: The Geology of Our National Parks, Monuments & Seashores.
Lillie, Robert J., 2005.
W.W. Norton and Company.
ISBN 0-393-92407-6
9" x 10.75", paperback, 550 pages, full color throughout

The spectacular geology in our national parks provides the answers to many questions about the Earth. The answers can be appreciated through plate tectonics, an exciting way to understand the ongoing natural processes that sculpt our landscape. Parks and Plates is a visual and scientific voyage of discovery!

Ordering from your National Park Cooperative Associations' bookstores helps to support programs in the parks. Please visit the bookstore locator for park books and much more.

geologic research subheading

For information about permits that are required for conducting geologic research activities in National Parks, see the Permits Information page.

The NPS maintains a searchable data base of research needs that have been identified by parks.

A bibliography of geologic references is being prepared for each park through the Geologic Resources Evaluation Program (GRE). Please see the GRE website for more information and contacts.

selected links subheading

NPS Geology and Soils Partners

NRCS logoAssociation of American State Geologists
NRCS logoGeological Society of America
NRCS logoNatural Resource Conservation Service - Soils
USGS logo U.S. Geological Survey

teacher feature subheading

Currently, we do not have a listing for any park-specific geology education programs or activities.

For resources and information on teaching geology using National Park examples, see the Students & Teachers pages.
updated on 01/04/2005  I   http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/para/index.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster
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