uinta structure

The technical term anticline describes a structure—such as a mountain range—in which layers of bedded rock fall down on either side of an axis. This is the case in the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah, “a classic example of subsidence and uplift on a stupendous scale,” according to geographer Dudley Stamp. The Uintas offer geology students a textbook landscape for the study of a type of warping of the Earth’s crust that results in a uinta structure, where, writes Stamp, you see “a flattened flexure from which the strata descend sharply on either flank and then run horizontal again.” A series of faults (which once relieved pressure in the bending layers of uplifted rock) marks both the crest of the range and its base. The Uintas—the name is from uintats, a Ute word for pine lands—are one of the few east-west–trending ranges in the Rocky Mountain chain.

Terry Tempest Williams