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Geology of National Parks, 3D and Photographic Tours

Big Bend National Park

Santa Elena Canyon is the narrow Rio Grande gorge through the Sierra de Santa Elena along the west side of Big Bend National Park. Sierra de Santa Elena is a great southeast-to-northwest-trending uplifted block with an east-facing escarpment. This view is from the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook.

Rock formations of Cretaceous age are exposed in the escarpment including, from bottom to top: Glen Rose Formation and Telephone Canyon Formation (these two formations make up the lower slope and ledges near the mouth of the canyon); Del Carmen Limestone (lower massive cliff), Sue Peaks Formation (vegetation covered slope), and Santa Elena Limestone (upper massive cliff) ( Scheubel and Mruk, 1994).

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