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Capitol Reef National Park

On December 18, 1971, Capitol Reef National Park in the south-central Utah desert was signed into law. It is the home of several unusual geologic formations such as the Waterpocket Fold.

In the Late Cretaceous approximately 70 to 50 million years ago, a monocline of horizontal rock strata or layers was uplifted in a stepped fold so that the strata all bend but have retained their spacing in a spine about 160 km (100 mi) long. That’s the Fold part.

Ancient lake and streams left deposits of fossil layers on the ridge. 20 to 15 million years ago, the above-ground fold became exposed as erosion carved the soft sedimentary rock strata in various ways and to varying depths. The exposed strata are colourful and appear almost rainbow like. They hold water in small to medium sized basins, potholes, narrow slots and rifts. The Waterpocket part.

Over 200 species of birds fly above gopher snakes, tree lizards, and small to large mammals – bison, beaver, bats, and black bears – that range over more than 800 species of plants. Where animals rarely tread, early soil colonizers of soil crust algae, lichens, and mosses, do their quiet work on difficult surfaces in difficult temperatures. Conservation of biodiversity on every scale.

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage