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Geologic Setting

view from bridge canyon wall by group site

Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa is situated on the northern edge of the Colorado Plateau's Geological Province, which extends throughout the entire "Four Corners" region. The station offers unparalleled geological exposures of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rock sequences that testify to dynamic changes in a broad spectrum of Earth environments over the past 250 million years. The varied rock units indicate a constantly changing landscape of shallow seas, ocean shorelines, forested uplands, and dune-covered deserts, each containing a rich record of fossils reflecting the fascinating parade of extinct life forms that have inhabited Utah throughout the vastness of geologic time.

Within a short drive from the station, one can easily reach two one-of-a-kind national parks (Arches and Canyonlands) and one spectacular state park (Deadhorse Point) that are world famous for their unique geological features. This area has a wealth of natural resources, including a wide variety of economic minerals and fossil fuels, and a scenic splendor that supports an ever-growing outdoor tourist industry with visitors from around the globe.

Learn more about the station's geology:

Last Updated: 2/1/24