The Moenkopi formation of Triassic age is composed of a series of deposits that form a wedge thinning eastward from a maximum of about 2000 feet in western Utah and southern Nevada to the vanishing point along an irregular margin in western Colorado, northeastern Arizona, and western New Mexico. Partly marine and partly continental in the thick western sections, it is entirely continental in the east.
Invertebrate faunas indicate that deposition began either during or preceding the middle of the Early Triassic (Meekoceras zone) and continued into late Early Triassic (Tirolites zone) and probably into Medial Triassic time. Vertebrate faunas also indicate an Early Triassic and probably, in part, a Medial Triassic age. Studies of the deposits indicate three major transgressions and three regressions across southern Utah and northern Arizona.
Analysis of sedimentary rock types and original structures in them suggests a complex mixture of environments involved in the development of the formation: stream beds, lagoons, playas, flood plains or tidal flats, shallow sea floors, and others. Some types are clear cut and readily demonstrated; others are open to question. Evidence from flora, fauna, and sediments indicates a semiarid to arid climate. Except for uplift in the Uncompahgre region of Colorado indicated by conglomeratic beds in the Moenkopi near by, the entire region probably remained very low and flat during Moenkopi deposition.