Dawn, Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
The fabulous spires of Bryce Canyon National Park are carved by weathering and rain in a layer of 50 to 60 million-year-old lake deposits. These are the rocks of the Pink Cliffs, the uppermost step in the Grand Staircase that rises to the north between the Grand Canyon and Bryce. Below and south of the Pink Cliffs are the Grey, White, Vermillion, Chocolate or Belted Cliffs, and finally the Kaibab Plateau. The strata are inclined upward at an angle to the south, so the drop in altitude from north to south averages but a small fraction of the geologic drop through the layers. The oldest rock of the staircase, the Kaibab Limestone, is over 225 million years old. The farther drop past many layers of rock, from the Kaibab to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, ends with the very ancient Vishnu Schist of 1,800 million years of age, which you can see in Dawn, Upper Granite Gorge, Grand Canyon, Arizona, elsewhere in this gallery.