Dominating the Glen Canyon spectacle are mountains and vertical cliffs of rock which originated as deposits of sediment. Windblown sediments reveal themselves in the brick-red Navajo sandstone shaped into cliffs near the dam. These are the slopes of one-time sand dunes. Examples of sea-deposited rocks are exposed at Wahweap. There the red Carmel formation overlies the Navajo sandstone. Other formations contain fossils of marine animals that lived millions of years ago. The last volcanic uplift of the region began about 60 million years ago. As the uplift progressed, meandering streams of the ancient low-lying Colorado Basin ran faster, cutting the labyrinth of canyons that you can explore today on Lake Powell. Sweeping vistas of rock and sky are scaled so large here that Glen Canyon’s plant life at first glance might escape notice. But a surprising amount of vegetation can be found.
Glen Canyon Dam, set between the high cliffs of red sandstone, was built by the Bureau of Reclamation between 1956 and 1964 in order to harness the turbulent waters of the Colorado River. Behind this massive slab of white concrete lies Lake Powell which stretches more than 180 miles to the northeast of the dam. The dam was built to meet the needs of the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP). Controlled releases of water generate more than one million kilowatts at full capacity which is enough to meet the needs of a city with a population over one million. The power produced through this dam is used throughout the western region of the United States. #geology #earthscience #navajosandstone #utah #glencanyon