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We have now resumed our eastwards journey and find ourselves in the territories of Utah and Arizona, surrounded on all sides by what geoscientists call the "Colorado Plateau": yet another vast expanse of the western US, this one made famous by the national parks and preserved wilderness areas that include amongst many other beautiful areas, the Arches, Canyon Lands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, and the daddy of them all: the Grand Canyon. Geoscientists generally describe the Colorado Plateau as a "micro-plate", an area of the North American continental crust that has distinct and separate characteristics from all the different terrain's that surround it. Whereas these surrounding terrain's might have been dramatically stretched or squeezed, the Colorado Plateau has for whatever reason resisted dramatic tectonic deformation, and instead "opted" (as if it has any choice!) for relatively gentle folding, and as if above the fray that surrounds it, a whole lot of seemingly "bouyant" transcendence; in fact, well over a mile of vertical uplift! This behavior has resulted in a truly spectacular geological landscape riven with deep canyons and trimmed with eroded scarp faces, and most spectacularly of all, millions of acres or red sandstone outcrop that represent a vast fossilized desert that was first laid down some 200 million years ago.

Please click on any of the following thumbnail views to view a larger image and scroll down for the related explanatory notes.

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