How Did the Layers of the Grand Canyon Form?
ES2906  Temple Butte, Redwall, and Surprise Canyon

Instead of a smooth transition from the Muav Limestone to the Temple Butte Limestone above it, the top surface of the Muav is rough and the Temple Butte limestone fills channel-shaped surfaces within it. This gap in the sequence represents another unconformity. In terms of the "reading the rocks" analogy, an unconformity is a place where a number of pages have been ripped out of the book.

8. What geological processes could account for the unconformity between the Muav and the Temple Butte Layers?

Adapted from National Park Service

  !   Click the layers in the diagram to see photographs and information on Temple Butte, Redwall, and Surprise Canyon rocks. Move your cursor over the image to highlight the featured rock layer.

Two of the three layers are very similar, but one represents a change in the depositional environment.

9. Describe the rock type and depositional environment of the two similar layers; then discuss how they differ from the third.


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