Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Loope, D., Kettler, R., Murray, K., Pederson, J., and Reiners, P., 2016, Sandstones and Utah’s canyon country: Deposition, diagenesis, exhumation, and landscape evolution, in Keller, S.M., and Morgan, M.L., eds., Unfolding the Geology of the West: Geological Society of America Field Guide 44, p. 41–71,



Copyright © 2016 The Geological Society of America. Used by permission


South-central Utah’s prominent sandstones and deeply dissected landscapes are the focus of this four-day trip, which begins and ends in Grand Junction, Colorado. Studies of the apatite grains in sandstones adjacent to igneous intrusions are revealing new information on the timing and rate of Cenozoic erosion. Iron-oxide-cemented concretions in other rocks record how reduced-iron carbonates and subsurface microbes interacted when near-surface, oxygenated waters started to flush the reducing, CO2-rich waters from Colorado Plateau aquifers. New geochronologic techniques that are being applied to the plateau rocks have the potential to expand our knowledge of how diagenetic episodes relate to the evolving topography of this classic geologic setting.