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The Colorado Plateau

Updated on October 22, 2011

Colorado plateau province or Colorado plateau is land blessed with natural beauty. This province is center of four corner states of southwestern United States.

Geography Of Colorado Plateau

This province covers an area of approximately one hundred and thirty thousand square miles, which makes about three hundred and thirty seven thousand kilo meters.

This plateau touches western Colorado, eastern and southern Utah, northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. This plateau or province is surrounded by WasatchMountains and Uinta Mountains (branches of Rocky Mountains). This plateau is composed of seven main ranges:

  • High Plateaus section
  • Grand Canyon section
  • Acoma-Zuni Section
  • Navajo Section
  • Uinta basin Section
  • Canyons Land Section
  • Datil-Mogollon section

One other interesting geographical aspect of Colorado plateau is Grant Staircase. It is a set of cliffs that seems to be descending in form of a stair case. Cliffs are named as following according to their colors:

  • Pink cliff
  • Grey cliff
  • White cliff
  • Vermillion cliff
  • Chocolate cliff (the top most).

History Of Colorado Plateau

This plateau was home of many tribes from many past millennia. Remains of villages found from different regions of the plateau are made on style of Anasazi culture. The remains also includes some thousands years old spear points.

Spaniards were the first Europeans to reach at Colorado plateau. They were on the quest of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado for the seven cities of Cibola.

They were marching to Grand Canyon under Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas in 1540. The next visit recorded in history to this plateau was done by a missionary named Francisco Garces in June 1776.

Then, in 1869 and 1872 an American geologist and US Army Officer John Wesley Powell charted in region for federal government. Before this, this region of United States was unknown. In 1889-90, Robert B. Stanton and Frank M. Brown support the idea of laying railroads in grand canyon but unfortunately their boats capsized and they drowned.

Coal Mines
Coal Mines

Natural Resources In Colorado Plateau

  • Petroleum: Rocks and mountains of Colorado plateau are rich in natural gas and oil. Arizona, Colorado, san Juan basin of New Mexico, the Uinta Basin of Utah, Paradox Basin of Utah and the Piceance Basin of Colorado are main deposits of petroleum in the plateau.
  • Coal: Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are major deposits of coal and coal is being mined from these deposits though large mining projects are still not present in this region due to some political conflicts.

An oil drill in Colorado
An oil drill in Colorado
  • Uranium: Large uranium deposits are also present in this plateau. In 1950s, there was boom of Uranium in this region.
  • Gilsonite/Uintatite: Gilsonite found in the region of Colorado plateau is one of its kind. The gilsonite’s plant is near bonanza, Utah and southeast of Vernal. This gilsonite is use in varnishes, paints, inks, waterproofing materials and compounds, electrical insulation and roofing materials.
  • Oil Shale: Large deposits of oil shale are also in this plateau, but still waiting for taping out.

Scenic Beauty Of Colorado Plateau

Colorado plateau, this region of United States is truly appealing. Its natural beauty is something beyond the capture of camera.

This region’s basins have many diversified landforms and landscapes. There are beautiful rivers, rugged plateaus and canyons, SlotMountains and desert landscapes. Beauty of this plateau attracts the tourist and exceeds the tourism for all four adjoining regions more than any other state of United States.

Protected Lands of Colorado Plateau

There are many historical and national parks and national monument parks present in Colorado plateau.

Many of the area having cliffs, mountains, arcs, arroyos, canyons, national bridges, historical remains and many other natural beauties are protected by Government of United states of America.

In North America, the concentration of parks is highest in this region. The national parks includes following parks:

  • Chaco cultural and historical park.
  • Mesa verde national park.
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
  • Arches National Park.
  • Canyonland National Park.
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Petrified Forest National Park

There are many national monuments are also in Colorado plateau. Some of them are as following:

  • Aztec Ruins National Park.
  • Canyons of Ancient National monument.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • El Morro National Monument.
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
  • Sunset crater national monument
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument.

The Bryce Canyon


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    • hassam profile image

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      It sure is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Thanks for visiting!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      "Rock Plateau" of Colorado - a worthy visiting place.