Cedar Breaks National Monument

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Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument is a three square mile natural ampitheater composed of multicolored sedimentary rock 2000 feet deep. The upper rim of the park is over 10,000 feet in altitude, the park is adjacent to Brian Head Ski area. The area around the park is a popular for cross country skiers in the chilly winters.

The breaks expose the Claron formation which has layers of sandstone, siltstone, dolomite, limestone with a variety of mineral deposits giving the rocks colors from white to a salmon pink. These layers of sandstone are relatively young. They were deposited in the Eocene era, 60-40 million years ago. The Claron formation is even younger than the Morrison layer where paleontologists find the dinosaur fossils. The Claron layers have eroded away from other prominent features of the Colorado Plateau such as Zion and Arches.

The Paiutes called the Cedar Breaks area un-cap-i-un-ump translated as Circle of Painted Cliffs. Early Mormon pioneers gave the area the name Cedar Breaks. The cliffs are a break in the Markagunt Plateau to the East. The pioneers had misidentified the junipers in the base of the canyon as cedars.

Cedar Breaks was declared a national monument on August 22, 1933 during the second year of the National Park system. The visitor center was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938.

Context: Desert