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San Rafael Swell (3 images)

The San Rafael Swell, approximately 75 miles by 40 miles, consists of a giant dome-shaped anticline of sandstone, shale, and limestone that was pushed up during the Paleocene Laramide Orogeny 60-40 million years ago. Since that time, infrequent but powerful flash floods have eroded the sedimentary rocks into numerous valleys, canyons, gorges, mesas and buttes. The Swell is part of the Colorado Plateau physiographic region, and another serendipitous find while in Utah.