Cedar Breaks National Monument

May 18, 2009


Photographer: Marla Todd
Summary Author: Marla Todd

Cedar Breaks National Monument is located in the far southwest corner of Utah. The rim reaches an elevation of 10,662 ft (3,250 m) and the canyon is over 2,000 ft (610 m) deep. Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon are part of the Claron Formation, an area also known as the Pink Cliffs. The rock of Cedar Breaks is largely sandstone and limestone. The red-orange color results from traces of iron and purplish areas derived from oxidized manganese. Nearby Hurricane Fault was extremely active 10 million years ago, a time of dramatic upheaval. During this time, the Claron area was raised to its present elevation and cracks, known as joints, formed in the rock. Over the years, the rock has eroded into fascinating ridges, fins and hoodoos. Wind, rain and snow are responsible for much of the erosion, but another cause is frost wedging, where water freezes in joints, then expand and cause pieces to break away. Cedar Breaks records below-freezing temperatures for about eight months of the year. On this autumn day (October 15, 2008), an early season snowfall dusted the terra-cotta strata.