Geology of National Parks, 3D and Photographic Tours
View of the broad, flat high sagebrush desert that caps Cajon Mesa and other mesas in the region around Hovenweep National Monument in the southeast corner of Utah. The mesa surface is underlain by flat-lying sedimentary rocks, mostly sandstone and conglomerate of the Dakota Sandstone of Late Cretaceous age (Dyman and others, 2002).
Sleeping Ute Mountain rises above the eastern horizon from Utah Highway 262, about 10 miles west of Hovenweep National Monument. Sleeping Ute Mountain is one of many laccolithic mountains on the Colorado Plateau. A laccolith forms when molten rock (magma) migrating toward the surface becomes trapped between rock layers, pushes them apart, and domes the overlying rock layers. The magma eventually cools into solid granitic rock. Sleeping Ute Mountain formed in the Late Cretaceous when magma intruded older Mesozoic sedimentary rocks during a mountain-building period called the Laramide orogeny (Ekren and Houser, 1965; Semken and McIntosh, 1997 ).