[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Colorado Plateau
MAY 2005
Feature Main Page
Photo Gallery
Print Gallery
On Assignment
Learn More
Wallpaper: Wide Wild West
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Content Jump Links:
 Did You Know?  
 Related Links  
 NGS Resources  

Did You Know?Did You Know?

Explorer John Wesley Powell completed his famous expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. But his life as one of America's great men of science was only just beginning. As an Indian commissioner, he became a student of the Pauite and Ute tribes, an interest that led in 1879 to the birth of the Smithsonian's Bureau of Ethnology, where he was director for 23 years. That same year he would be instrumental in the founding of the U.S. Geological Survey, the agency in charge of mapping the West, which he would head just two years later. At 47 he was perhaps the most powerful and influential scientist in America. His ideas for harnessing water in the West inspired the birth of the Bureau of Reclamation, and in 1888 he joined 32 scientists and prominent Washingtonians to establish the National Geographic Society. After his death in 1902 at the age of 68, he continued to influence government science: He donated his brain to research. It's preserved today at the Smithsonian Institution.                                      
—Mary Jennings

Related Links

National Park Service, Colorado Plateau
Take a tour of the parks on the plateau and get a lesson on geology.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Read more about plateau geology, plus learn what kinds of dinosaurs and fossils may be found in the Bureau of Land Management's first and largest national monument.

Land-Use History of North America: Colorado Plateau
An extensive website describing the people, places, and ecology of the plateau, and the land-use issues that surround them.

South Utah Wilderness Alliance: Colorado Plateau
Learn more about some of the plateau's environmental issues in the region's heart of southern Utah.


Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire. Ballantine Books, 1968.

Baars, Donald L. The Colorado Plateau: A Geologic History. University of New Mexico Press, 1983.

Murray, John A. The Colorado Plateau: A Complete Guide to the National Parks and Monuments of Southern  Utah, Northern Arizona, Western Colorado, and Northwestern New Mexico. Northland Publishing, 1998.

Ringholz, Raye C. Uranium Frenzy: Boom and Bust on the Colorado Plateau. W. W. Norton and Company, 1989.

Stegner, Wallace. Beyond the Hundreth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West. Penguin Books, 1992.

Wilkinson, Charles. Fire on the Plateau. Island Press, 1999.

NGS Resources

Powell, John Wesley. The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons. National Geographic Books, 2002.

Clayton, John, Gary Ferguson, and Maureen B. Keilty. National Geographic Guide to America's Outdoors: Southern Rockies. National Geographic Books, 2001.

Rennicke, Jeff. "Deep in the Canyon." National Geographic Traveler (May/June 1998), 66-79.

Thybony, Scott. Canyon Country Parklands: Treasures of the Great Plateau. National Geographic Books, 1993.

Carrier, Jim. "The Colorado: A River Drained Dry." National Geographic (June 1991), 2-35.

Mendenhall, Walter C. "The Colorado Desert." National Geographic (August 1909), 681-701.
E-Mail this Page to a Friend