October 16 - 22, 2016: Issue 285


A sharp peak and a sandstone "temple" - features for which the park is famous.


By George Repin

Although only 50 miles apart in south-western Utah, the Zion National Park and the Bryce Canyon National Park are very different, although both are located in the same harsh rugged land of barren rocks, high plateaus and souring cliffs.  Bryce Canyon, in fact, is not a canyon in the strict sense of the word as it was not formed by erosion initiated from a central stream (the technical definition of a canyon) but by headward erosion. (Headward erosionoccurs when sheets of water flow over the edge of a rock formation.)

Map of Zion National Park showing "picture taking spots".

Unlike Bryce, in which the rock formations are delicate and cheerfully brilliant (see REFLECTIONS in Pittwater Online News, Issue 191 of November 30 - December 6, 2014) Zion is massive and can be awesomely sombre with a subtle splendour.

Although the main force causing erosion in both parks has been water the scenery in the parks is very different.  In part this is because they have been carved out from layers of different types of rock that erode in different ways and, in part, because Zion is the canyon of a river that previously existed, and had established a course, before the land was uplifted by geological movement.

At Bryce the spectacularly coloured rocks are composed of layers of soft siltstone alternating with a slightly harder limestone.  The siltstone, being soft erodes easily, while the limestone is sufficiently hard to weather into vertical planes.  The differential erosion accounts for the fluting and free-standing walls of Bryce.

Checkerboard Mesa near the East Entrance (18).The distinctive checkerboard pattern is the result of weathering along horizontal and vertical planes of weakness in the sandstone.

At Zion the river eroded through sandstone that developed from the sand dunes of a desert which was drowned when the earth moved.  This rock weathers at a consistent rate and, being fairly hard, creates sheer cliffs.

The Great White Throne (11) towers 2400 feet above the Virgin River. It is one of the majestic monoliths in Zion Canyon.

A sandstone cliff displaying clearly the stratification of the rock.

Cross-bedding in the sandstone.

Originally declared a National Monument in 1909 by President Taft the United States Congress in 1919 voted to create Zion National Park.   
Small, but spectacular coloured flowers abound in both parks in the spring and summer - and chipmunks, ubiquitous in the national parks of the area, scurry about on the sandstone in the upper reaches of Zion.

Excellent roads provide ready access to the main points of interest – and to “picture taking spots” - throughout the park.  

Canyon flowers.

Photographs by George Repin in 1982.
Canyon flowers.
Canyon flowers.
Canyon flowers.

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales 

Copyright George Repin 2016. All Rights Reserved.