The San Rafael Swell
By: Tania Tolbert
Picture taken off of I-70 heading East towards Green River
The San Rafael Swell is found within the Colorado Plateau and it formed about 60 million years ago due to the Laramide orogeny. During this mountain building event the crust in Utah was warped and formed multiple domes and basins. The San Rafael Swell is one of the domes that formed at that time. Over millions of years differential erosion has occurred and resulted in the formation of many unique land forms. Flat Irons are some of the most popular found on the San Rafael Swell. Flat Irons form from water eroding away at the folded rock layers. As it erodes it forms a "V" shape is created in the resistant rock layers as you can see in the picture. The part of the resistant layer that remains after the erosion process forms a flat iron. It is called a flat iron because it looks like a iron that you iron your clothes with.
Aerial View of the San Rafael Swell