Photograph of rock exposures in Zion National Park in Utah.

Utah Earth Science Quick Facts

Page snapshot: Utah State Geologic MapFossil; Rock; Mineral; GemHighest and Lowest Elevations; Places to Visit; and Additional Resources.

Image above: Rock exposures at Zion National Park in Utah. Photograph by Ken Lane (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license; image cropped and resized).

Geologic Maps of Utah


Geologic map of Utah.

Geologic map of Utah showing maximum ages of mappable units. Image by Jonathan R. Hendricks for the [email protected] project developed using QGIS and USGS data (public domain) from Fenneman and Johnson (1946) and Horton et al. (2017).


Geologic and topographic map of Utah.

Geologic and topographic map of Utah. Geologic data from Horton et al. (2017) using the maximum age values for each mapped unit. Topographic data are derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM GL3) Global 90m (SRTM_GL3) (Farr, T. G., and M. Kobrick, 2000, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission produces a wealth of data. Eos Trans. AGU, 81:583-583).

Utah State Fossil: Allosaurus fragilis

The state fossil of Utah is the carnivorous Jurassic dinosaur Allosaurus fragilis.


Photograph of a mounted Allosaurus skeleton at Cleveland-Lloyd quarry. The dinosaur is a predatory theropod. It has a relatively large head with pointed teeth. The arms are robust and the hands have large claws. The dinosaur is bipedal, and the feet also have large claws. The tail is extended in back of the body and held off the ground.

Allosaurus fragilis on display at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, Utah. Photo by James St. John (flickrCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, image resized).

Utah State Rock: Coal

Coal is found in 17 of Utah’s 29 counties, but coal mining is primarily concentrated in Emery and Carbon counties, where coals formed in the Uinta Basin. Most coal mined in Utah is bituminous.


Photograph of a sample of bituminous coal from Utah.

Bituminous coal from Emery County, Utah. Photograph by James St. John (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license; image resized).

Utah State Mineral: Copper

The Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon mine in the Oquirrh Mountains is the world’s largest open-pit copper mine. Copper is a versatile metal widely valued for its capacity to conduct heat and electricity, and is used in electronics, transportation, plumbing, and alloys, among many other areas.


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Bingham Canyon Cooper Mine in Utah. Photograph by Doc Searls (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license; image resized).

Utah State Gem: Topaz

Topaz is a hard, semiprecious gem that is found in Beaver, Juab, and Tooele counties in Utah. At Topaz Mountain, which is in the Thomas Mountain Range in Juab County, topaz and other minerals such as beryl and opal are found in relatively high abundance in the cavities of Neogene-aged rhyolites.


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Sample of Topaz from Topaz Mountain, Juab County, Utah. Photograph by Géry Parent (Wikimedia Commons; public domain).

Utah's Highest and Lowest Elevations


Topographic map of Utah.

Topographic map of Utah with physiographic regions and point of highest elevation identified. Topographic data are derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM GL3) Global 90m (SRTM_GL3) (Farr, T. G., and M. Kobrick, 2000, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission produces a wealth of data. Eos Trans. AGU, 81:583-583).


Highest Elevation: Kings Peak

At 4125 meters (13,534 feet), Kings Peak is Utah's highest point, located in the Uinta Mountains of north-central Duchesne County. The peak is regarded as the hardest state high point to climb without special rock climbing skills or a guide; the easiest trail to the summit requires a 47-kilometer (29-mile) round-trip hike.


Photograph of Kings Peak, Utah.

Kings Peak, Utah. Photograph by Casey Goodlett (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license; image resized).


Lowest Elevation: Beaver Dam Wash

Beaver Dam Wash, at the Utah-Arizona state line in Washington County, is the lowest point in the state at 664 meters (2178 feet) above sea level.


Photograph of Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area, Utah.

Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area, Utah. Photograph by Bureau of Land Management (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license; image resized).

Places to Visit


Natural History Museum of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah.


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Photograph of dinosaur skulls on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Ceratopsian dinosaur skulls on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Photograph by "rameylady" (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).


Utah Field House of Natural History

Vernal, Utah.


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Photograph of Eocene plant fossils on display at the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal, Utah.

Eocene plant fossils on display at the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal, Utah. Photograph by Jonathan R. Hendricks.


Dinosaur National Monument

Colorado and Utah. Learn more about it here on [email protected].


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Photograph of a juvenile sauropod skeleton in a death pose partially embedded in rock. The sauropod has a long neck, a small head and is quadrapedal (walks on all fours). The tail is arched upward.

Skeleton of a juvenile Camarosaurs lentus, a type of sauropod, from the Carnegie Quarry, Jurassic Morrison Formation, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah and Colorado. Photo by James St. John (flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, image cropped and resized).

Additional resources


Learn more about the Earth science of Utah and the surrounding region on [email protected]


Explore
Simple map showing the four main physiographic regions of the southwestern United States.

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