[Skip to content]
ISS017-E-5351
Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
1000 x 663 pixels 540 x 358 pixels 540 x 405 pixels 3072 x 2096 pixels 639 x 436 pixels

MAP LOCATION
latitude/longitude of image
Spacecraft nadir point: 37.2° N, 112.4° W

Photo center point: 37.2° N, 112.9° W

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 180 nautical miles (333km)
Click for Google map
IMAGE DETAILS
features and other details
CAMERA INFORMATION
information about camera used
ALL DOWNLOAD OPTIONS
additional formats
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
1000 pixels 663 pixels No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
540 pixels 358 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
540 pixels 405 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
3072 pixels 2096 pixels No No Download Image
639 pixels 436 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah, along the western margin of the Colorado Plateau. The park was established in 1919, after roadway improvements in southwestern Utah allowed access to the preceding Mukuntuweap National Monument (1909), located in Zion Canyon. The towering cliffs bounding the North Fork of the Virgin River are formed mainly of tan to light pink Navajo Sandstone, the remains of a sand dune sea that covered the area during the early Mesozoic Era, nearly 200 million years ago. At that point in its history, the Zion region would have looked much like the present-day Sahara Desert.

Younger, brown rock that caps the Navajo Sandstone (image right) records how the environment fluctuated between shallow seas and deserts. This high-resolution astronaut photograph illustrates the incised nature of the bedrock in the park. The long linear features are fractures in the rock-joints--caused by tectonic stresses. The mainly north-northwest trending joints channel water runoff, and they appear to be the main factor that determined the present canyon network.

While the park is perhaps best experienced by hiking, backpacking, or biking, Utah State Route 9 (SR-9) provides automobile access up the side of Zion Canyon. The road is visible in the astronaut photograph as a thin brown line climbing the south wall of the canyon (lower left; more obvious in the large image). Access to the rest of the park is provided by a shuttle bus system instituted in 2000 to reduce vehicle noise, improve air quality, and improve wildlife habitat.