Checkerboard Mesa
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Stop 27 Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Location: Zion National Park
Date: March 12, 2007

One of the most unique features in Zion National Park is what’s been famously called Checkerboard Mesa.  Checkerboard Mesa derives its name from the unique natural horizontal and vertical etching that run nearly perpendicular to each other.  These grooves create a checkerboard pattern in the Navajo Sandstone that makes up the majority of this features structure.


Checkerboard mesa


The horizontal patterns are likely due to weathering that coincides with bedding plans created by Aeolian processes.  The nearly vertical grooves most likely form from freeze thaw and expansion and contraction within the sandstone surface.  This can occur because of variations in both precipitation/moisture and temperature.


A close-up of the grooves



By Phillip Larson