Geology Happens

Sometimes Without Warning

Zion moves at a geologic pace. Wind and water tirelessly strip small particles and sediments away from canyon walls and boulders.The awe-inspiring cliffs and spires that compose Zion’s main features hold in them over 150 million years of geologic history. The shaping of the canyon itself was relatively short by comparison taking only about 2 million years due to the powerful Virgin River.

The creation of the canyon is a constant phenomenon still being observed today. The Virgin’s tireless efforts continue, coupled with wind, to shift the landscape.

These forces leave many of the features in Zion in a constant precarious state. While it may have taken millions of years for the canyon to form, change can happen in a split second.

According to the Utah Geologic Survey (UGS)at 5:30pm on August 24, 2019, a large piece of sandstone rock wall gave way and came tumbling down in the main canyon, bringing with it over 435,000 cubic feet of rock debris weighing over 31,000 tons. While no one was critically injured, a few visitors were treated for minor injuries caused be the falling rocks. A shuttle bus also made a daring escape as dust enveloped the road below.

Three trails (Weeping Rock, Hidden Canyon, Observation Point from Weeping Rock) and a major shuttle stop (Weeping Rock #7) were all impacted and closed by this fall, and even though there is no certain date they will reopen, with your help Zion Forever has taken the first steps to helping the park understand and recover from this event.

Your donations and partnership were critical in providing funding for a full geologic review of this major event. Click HERE to read the full review from the UGS (Utah Geologic Survey). The report details the timing, causes, and impact of the rock fall but remains cautious on what the outlook is for repairing and preventing future falls.

Regardless of the outcome, with your support Zion Forever will continue to fund research and efforts to ensure that Zion remains a pristine landscape for all to enjoy.

Rockfall Video