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Zion National Park
Checkerboard Mesa

37 13' 49 N
112 52' 43 W

The checkerboard mesa stands at the east entrance of the park. The imperfect horizontal and vertical lines have been created by weathering and erosion. The formation is carved from the upper portion of the Navajo Formation.

The checkerboard pattern is found in a few other places throughout the park, always on the North facing sides of the slope. There is clearly a relationship between the long periods of exposure to snow and ice on the North slopes and the development of the shallow cracks, which create the checkerboard design. Expansion and contraction occurs as the rock formation freezes and thaws, causing shallow cracks. The cracks are made larger by continued erosion from runoff, rain and melting snow.

Panorama (631 K)

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