Mesa Verde National Park Point Lookout

Near the park entrance, it is nearly 8000 feet in elevation.

The cliffs above you are Point Lookout Sandstone. This formation was deposited on top of the Mancos shale in shallow water barrier beaches and sand bars while the sea temporarily retreated. Point Lookout, a very resistant sandstone, is visible as a band of white cliffs along the North Rim of Mesa Verde and in the cap rock of the mesas and buttes surrounding Morefield Campground. When erosion wears away this protective sandstone, the underlying soft shales of the Mancos Formation gully rapidly.

Today, as you look at Point Lookout, you may see white patches on the shale slopes. These are deposits left when water carrying various minerals evaporated at the surface of the slope. Calcium carbonate (lime) and magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) are commonly found in these deposits.

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