CHAPTER IV. CLIFFS AND TERRACES.
There is a great group of table-lands constituting a geographic unit which have been named the Terrace Plateaus. They ex-tend from the Paria and Colorado on the east to the Grand Wash and Pine Mountains on the west, and they are bounded on the south by the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and on the north they divide the waters of the Colorado from the waters of the Sevier, which flows northward and then westward until it is lost in the sands of the Great Desert. It is an irregular system of great plateaus with subordinate mesas and buttes separated by lines of cliffs and dissected by canyons.
In this region all of the features which have been described as found in other portions of the province are grouped except only the cliffs of volcanic ashes, the volcanic cones, and the volcanic domes. The volcanic mountains, cinder cones, and coulees, the majestic plateaus and elaborate mesas, the sculptured buttes and canyon gorges, are all found here, but on a more stupendous scale. The volcanic mountains are higher, the cinder cones are larger, the coulees are more extensive and are often sheets of naked, black rock, the plateaus are more lofty, the cliffs are on a grander scale, the canyons are of profounder depth; and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, the most stupendous gorge known on the globe, with a great river surging through it, bounds it on the south.
The east-and-west cliffs are escarpments of degradation, the north-and-south cliffs are, in the main, though not always, escarpments of displacement. Let us understand what this means. Over the entire region limestones, shales, and sandstones were deposited through long periods of geologic time to the thickness of many thousands of feet; then the country was upheaved and tilted toward the north; but the Colorado River was flowing when the tilting commenced, and the upheaval was very slow, so that the river cleared away the obstruction to its channel as fast as it was presented, and this is the Grand Canyon. The rocks above were carried away by rains and rivers, but not evenly all over the country; nor by washing out valleys and leaving hills, but by carving the country into terraces. The upper and later-formed rocks are found far to the north, their edges standing in cliffs; then still earlier rocks are found rising to the southward, until they terminate in cliffs; and then a third series rises to the southward and ends in cliffs, and finally a fourth series, the oldest rocks, terminating in the Grand Canyon wall, which is a line of cliffs. There are in a general way four great lines of cliffs extending from east to west across the district and presenting their faces, or escarpments, southward. If these cliffs are climbed it is found that each plateau or terrace dips gently to the northward until it meets with another line of cliffs, which must be ascended to reach the summit of another plateau. Place a book before you on a table with its front edge toward you, rest another book on the back of this, place a third on the back of the second, and in like manner a fourth on the third. Now the leaves of the books dip from you and the cut edges stand in tiny escarpments facing you. So the rock-formed leaves of these books of geology have the escarpment edges turned southward, while each book itself dips northward, and the crest of each plateau book is the summit of a line of cliffs. These cliffs of erosion have been described as running from east to west, but they diverge from that course in many ways. First, canyons run from north to south through them, and where these canyons are found deep angles occur; then sharp salients extend from the cliffs on the backs of the lower plateaus. Each great escarpment is made up more or less of minor terraces, or steps; and at the foot of each grand escarpment there is always a great talus, or sloping pile of rocks, and many marvelous buttes stand in front of the cliffs.
But these east-and-west cliffs and the plateaus which they form are divided by north-and-south lines in another manner. The country has been faulted along north-and-south lines or planes. These faults are breaks in the strata varying from 1,000 or 2,000 to 4,000 or 5,000 feet in verticality. On the very eastern margin the rocks are dropped down several thousand feet, or, which means the same thing, the rocks are upheaved on the west side; that is, the beds that were originally horizontal have been differentially displaced, so that on the west side of the fracture the strata are several thousand feet higher than they are on the east side of the fracture. The line of displacement is known as the Echo Cliff Fault. West of this about twenty-five miles, there is another fault with its throw to the east, the upheaved rocks being on the west. This fault varies from 1,500 to 2,500 feet in throw, and extends far to the northward. It is known as the East Kaibab Fault. Still going westward, another fault is found, known as the West Kaibab Fault. Here the throw is on the west side, - that is, the rocks are dropped down to the westward from 1,000 to 2,000 feet. This fault gradually becomes less to the northward and is flexed toward the east until it joins with the East Kaibab Fault. The block between the two faults is the Kaibab Plateau. Going westward from 60 to 70 miles, still another fault is found, known as the Hurricane Ledge Fault. The throw is again on the west side of the fracture and the rocks fall down some thousands of feet. This fault extends far northward into central Utah. To the west 25 or 30 miles is found a fault with the throw still on the west. It has a drop of several thousand feet and extends across the Rio Colorado far to the southwest, probably beyond the Arizona-New Mexico line. It also extends far to the north, until it is buried and lost under the Pine Valley Mountains, which are of volcanic origin.