Zion angels landing view

Zion National Park

  • Period: to

    Permian Period

    299 million to 252 million years ago.
  • Sedimentation 240,000,000 B.C.

    Sedimentation 240,000,000 B.C.
    As sand, gravel, and mud eroded from surrounding mountains, streams lifted these materials into the basin and distributed them in layers. The sheer weight of these accumulated layers caused the basin to sink, so that the top surface always remained near sea level. As the land rose and fell and as the climate changed, the depositional environment fluctuated from shallow seas to coastal plains to a desert of giant windblown sand. This process of sedimentation continued until over 10,000 feet.
  • Erosion

    This uplift gave the rivers greater slicing force in their journey to the sea. Zion’s location on the western edge of this uplift caused the streams to fall off the plateau, flowing quickly down a steep slope. A fast-moving river carries more sediment and larger boulders than a slow-moving river. These rivers began eroding and slicing into the rock layers, forming deep and narrow canyons.
  • Kaibab Limestone (Upper Permian)

    Kaibab Limestone (Upper Permian)
    In later Permian time, the Toroweap Basin was intruded by the hot, translucent edge of the vast Panthalassa Ocean in what local geologists named the Kaibab Sea. At that time, Utah and Wyoming were near the equator on the western margin of the supercontinent Pangaea.
  • Uplift

    In an area from Zion to the Rocky Mountains, forces deep within the earth started to push the surface up. This was not chaotic uplift, but very slow vertical hoisting of huge blocks of the crust. Zion’s elevation rose from near sea level to as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. Uplift is still occurring. In 1992 a magnitude 5.8 earthquake caused a landslide visible just outside the south entrance of the park in Springdale.
  • Kolob's Canyon Area 1937

    Kolob's Canyon Area 1937
    The Kolob Canyon's area was declared Zion National Monument.
  • Lithification

    Mineral-laden waters slowly filtered through the compacted sediments. Iron oxide, calcium carbonate, and silica acted as cementing agents, and with pressure from overlying layers over long periods of time, transformed the deposits into stone. Ancient seabeds became limestone; mud and clay became mudstones and shale; and desert sand became sandstone. Each layer originated from a distinct source and so differs in thickness, mineral content, color, and eroded appearance.
  • Period: to

    Triassic Period

    252 million to 201 million years ago.
  • Start of Zion National Park 240.000,000 B.C.

    Zion National Park formed 240,000,000 years ago as a great desert basin close to sealevel.
  • The Grand Staircase

    The Grand Staircase
    The Grand Staircase is an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon.
  • Chinle Formation (Upper Triassic)

    Chinle Formation (Upper Triassic)
    Later, uplift revealed the Moenkopi Formation to erosion and Utah became a piece of a large interior basin drained by north and northwest-flowing rivers in the Upper Triassic. Shallow river deposition along with volcanic ash eventually became the mineral-rich Chinle Formation. The irregular contact zone, or unconformity, between the Chinle and the underlying Moenkopi can be seen between Rockville and Grafton in southwestern Utah.
  • Period: to

    Jurassic Period

    201 million to 145 million years ago.
  • Navajo Sandstone (Lower to Mid Jurassic)

    Navajo Sandstone (Lower to Mid Jurassic)
    Approximately 190 to 136 million years ago in the Jurassic the Colorado Plateau area's climate increasingly became arid until 150,000 square miles (388,000 km²) of western North America became a huge desert, not unlike the modern Sahara. For perhaps 10 million years sometime around 175 million years ago sand dunes accumulated, reaching their greatest thickness in the Zion Canyon area; about 2,200 feet (670 m) at the Temple of Sinawava in Zion Canyon.
  • Moenave and Kayenta formations (Lower Jurassic)

    Moenave and Kayenta formations (Lower Jurassic)
    Early Jurassic uplift created an unconformity above the Chinle Formation that represents about ten million years of missing sedimentation between it and the next formation, the Moenave. Periodic incursions of shallow seas from the north during the Jurassic flooded parts of Wyoming, Montana, and a northeast–southwest trending trough on the Utah/Idaho border. The Moenave was deposited in a variety of river, lake, and flood-plain environments.
  • First landforms started to apear. 150,000,000 B.C.

    The first landforms of Zion National Park appear 150,000,000 years ago of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation.
  • Temple Cap and Carmel formations (Middle Jurassic)

    Temple Cap and Carmel formations (Middle Jurassic)
    Utah and western Colorado were deformed as the rate of subduction off the west coast increased in the Middle Jurassic Sevier Orogeny. At the same time, an inland sea began to encroach on the continent from the north. Broad tidal flats and streams carrying iron oxide-rich mud formed on the margins of the shallow sea to the west, creating the Sinawava member of the Temple Cap Formation. Flat-bedded sandstone, siltstone, and limestone filled depressions left in the underlying soil.
  • Period: to

    Creataceuos Period

    145 million to 66 million years ago
  • Dakota Sandstone (Lower Cretaceous)

    Dakota Sandstone (Lower Cretaceous)
    Mountains continued to rise in the Sevier orogenic belt to the west during the Cretaceous while the roughly north-south trending Western Interior Basin expanded. Rifting in the Gulf of Mexico helped the southern end of the basin to subside, which allowed marine water to advance northward. At the same time, the shoreline advanced inland from the Arctic region.
  • Zion National Park First elavated to 10,000Ft. in 13,000,000 B.C.

    Zion National Park First elavated to 10,000Ft. in 13,000,000 B.C.
    Zion National Park first elavated 10,000 Ft. 13 million years ago.
  • Period: to

    Recent History

  • First Humans settled in Zion 8,000 years ago.

    The first human presence in the region dates to 8,000 years ago when family groups camped where they could hunt or collect plants and seeds.
  • Historic period in Zion National Park began.

  • Zion National Park first human agriculture began 2,000 years ago.

    About 2,000 years ago, some groups began growing corn and other crops, leading to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
  • In 500 B.C. first perminant human settlments

    In 500 B.C. first perminant human settlments
    Later groups in this period built permanent villages called pueblos. Archaeologists call this the Archaic period and it lasted until about 500 CE. Baskets, cordage nets, and yucca fiber sandals have been found and dated to this period. The Archaic toolkits included flaked stone knives, drills, and stemmed dart points. The dart points were attached to wooden shafts and propelled by throwing devices called atlatls.
  • First explored by Europeans in 1776.

    First explored by Europeans in 1776.
    When Sivestre Velez de Escalante and Dominguez Escalante explored the Kolob Canyons area Zion's historic period began.
  • Zion's First Settler 1861

    Zion's First Settler 1861
    Zion's first settler, Isaac Behunin lived in a log cabin near where Zion Lodge is today. Mormon settlers left their mark, giving Zion the name that would eventually stick. Mormons awed by the immense beauty of the canyon, referred to it as, "Zion" since its magnificence reminded them of a heavenly city described in the Little Zion - Old Testament.
  • Zion's First Euopean-American Settlers 1872

    Zion's First Euopean-American Settlers 1872
    The first European-American comes to explore Parunuweap Canyon, also known as the East Fork of the Virgin River from Mt. Carmel Jct. to what was once the town of Shunesburg. The historic town was washed away by the Virgin River in 1868.
  • Zion becomes famous 1904

    Zion becomes famous 1904
    At least one artist impacted the popularity of Mukuntuweap in 1903 when Frederick S. Dellenbach's painting of Zion's great monoliths were displayed at the St. Louis World's Fair. He also wrote about the beauty of this corner of Utah in the then popular, Scribner's magazine.
  • Zion Canyan survey 1908

    Zion Canyan survey 1908
    Completion of the federal land survey of the Zion Canyon area.
  • Zion Canyon declared a monument 1909

    Zion Canyon declared a monument 1909
    The canyon was declared a National Monument by President Taft after receiving the survey results. The Paiute name Mukuntuweap (sacred cliffs or straight canyon) that Powell used during his exploration was chosen and farming of the canyon by Mormon settlers came to an end.
  • Zion becomes a park 1919

    Zion becomes a park 1919
    Congress declares the Monument to be Zion National Park, becoming Utah's oldest National Park.
  • Zion's Nature Center is built 1943

    Zion's Nature Center is built 1943
    Zion Nature Center - This beautiful building that was constructed in 1934 was once the Zion Cafeteria. Today it is used for the Jr. Ranger Program.
  • Zion Shuttle Bus 2000

    Zion Shuttle Bus 2000
    Zion Canyon Shuttle Bus system begins.
  • Zion gets more land. Thanks Obama! 2009

    Zion gets more land. Thanks Obama! 2009
    President Obama signs the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, adding 124,406 acres of park land as Zion Wilderness.