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Cathedral Mountain (Capitol Reef) facts for kids

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Cathedral Mountain
Capital Reef - Cathedral Valley.jpg
Southwest aspect
Highest point
Elevation 6,924 ft (2,110 m)
Prominence 384 ft (117 m)
Isolation 1.89 mi (3.04 km)
Parent peak Point 6984
Geography
Location Capitol Reef National Park
Wayne County, Utah, US
Parent range Colorado Plateau
Topo map USGS Cathedral Mountain
Geology
Age of rock Jurassic
Type of rock Entrada Sandstone
Climbing
Easiest route class 5.x climbing

Cathedral Mountain is a 6,924-foot (2,110-meter) elevation summit located in Capitol Reef National Park, in Wayne County of Utah, United States. This remote erosional remnant is situated 13 miles (26 km) north-northwest of the park's visitor center, and 0.6 mile (1 km) west of Needle Mountain, in the Middle Desert of the park's North (Cathedral Valley) District. Cathedral Valley was so named in 1945 by Charles Kelly, first superintendent of Capitol Reef National Monument, because the valley's sandstone monoliths reminded early explorers of ornate, Gothic cathedrals, with fluted walls, alcoves, and pinnacles. The free-standing Cathedral Mountain towers over 500 feet (150 meters) above the valley floor, which is within the Fremont River drainage basin. John C. Frémont's 1853 expedition passed through Cathedral Valley.

Geology

Cathedral Mountain is composed of reddish Entrada Sandstone with a hard, grayish-green sandstone and siltstone Curtis Formation layer caprock which protects it from erosion. The sandstone, which was originally deposited as sandy mud on a tidal flat, is believed to have formed about 160 million years ago during the Jurassic period as a giant sand sea, the largest in Earth's history.. Stratum in Cathedral Valley have a gentle inclination of three to five degrees to the east, and appear nearly horizontal. Long after these sedimentary rocks were deposited, the Colorado Plateau was uplifted relatively evenly, keeping the layers roughly horizontal, but Capitol Reef is an exception because of the Waterpocket Fold, a classic monocline, which formed between 50 and 70 million years ago during the Laramide Orogeny.

Gallery

Climate

Spring and fall are the most favorable seasons to visit Cathedral Mountain. According to the Köppen climate classification system, it is located in a Cold semi-arid climate zone, which is defined by the coldest month having an average mean temperature below 32 °F (0 °C), and at least 50% of the total annual precipitation being received during the spring and summer. This desert climate receives less than 10 inches (250 millimeters) of annual rainfall, and snowfall is generally light during the winter.

Climate data for Capitol Reef Visitor Center, elevation 5,653 ft (1,723 m), 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1981-2019
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 58.6
(14.78)
68.3
(20.17)
78.3
(25.72)
84.4
(29.11)
94.6
(34.78)
100.2
(37.89)
100.8
(38.22)
97.9
(36.61)
95.4
(35.22)
86.1
(30.06)
70.4
(21.33)
61.5
(16.39)
100.8
(38.22)
Average high °F (°C) 40.6
(4.78)
46.4
(8)
54.7
(12.61)
65.0
(18.33)
74.5
(23.61)
85.3
(29.61)
90.4
(32.44)
87.9
(31.06)
80.2
(26.78)
66.1
(18.94)
51.3
(10.72)
40.6
(4.78)
65.3
(18.5)
Average low °F (°C) 17.8
(-7.89)
22.7
(-5.17)
30.2
(-1)
36.2
(2.33)
44.7
(7.06)
53.1
(11.72)
60.4
(15.78)
58.5
(14.72)
50.4
(10.22)
39.0
(3.89)
27.6
(-2.44)
18.2
(-7.67)
38.3
(3.5)
Record low °F (°C) -4.2
(-20.11)
-11.8
(-24.33)
9.1
(-12.72)
18.1
(-7.72)
27.2
(-2.67)
34.6
(1.44)
42.4
(5.78)
45.1
(7.28)
29.9
(-1.17)
11.7
(-11.28)
8.0
(-13.33)
-7.5
(-21.94)
-11.8
(-24.33)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.52
(13.2)
0.34
(8.6)
0.53
(13.5)
0.47
(11.9)
0.59
(15)
0.47
(11.9)
0.91
(23.1)
1.20
(30.5)
0.80
(20.3)
0.98
(24.9)
0.49
(12.4)
0.32
(8.1)
7.62
(193.5)
Source: PRISM
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