Conor Watkins And J. David Rogers
Grand Canyon Research
Eminence Break Fault Landslide

The Eminence Break Route (RM 44) is a rugged but scenic side hike in Marble Canyon.   The route starts at river level and follows a rough cairned trail to the canyon rim near Tatahatso Point.  Most visitors to Grand Canyon do not venture up the route as it is quite rugged and free climbing is required at several locations, especially in portions through the Supai, Coconino, and Kaibab Formations. 

During March-April 2005 we conducted a reconnaissance of the Eminence Break Route while participating in a Grand Canyon River Guides training trip.  A large landslide was discovered in the vicinity of the Eminence Break Fault.  As with other megalandslides in Grand Canyon, the failure initiated in the Bright Angel Shale and continued up through the Supai Group.

The Eminence Break Route leads to Tatahatso Point, a scenic overlook on the west side of the Navajo Indian Reservation.  This location provides an excellent overview of the geology in the eastern Grand Canyon Region.  This picture includes an entrenched meander around Point Hansbrough, named for Peter Hansbrough, a member of the 1889 Stanton Expedition.  Hansbrough drowned above this point and his body was later recovered and buried above the camp adjacent to President Harding Rapid.  All formations from river to rim are visible as is the snow-covered East Kaibab Monocline and Saddle Mountain.  If one turns and looks to the north, the Vermilion Cliffs and House Rock Valley are visible along with more of the East Kaibab Monocline.  To the east lies Shinumo Altar, a remnant of the Moenkopi Formation capped by the resistant Shinarump Conglomerate.  Lee's Ferry lies to the northeast between the Vermilion and Echo Cliffs.

Tilted strata of the East Kaibab Monocline is clearly visible from Tatahatso Point.

The House Rock Valley which runs between the reddish escarpment of the Vermilion Cliffs (right) and the green East Kaibab Monocline (left), is visible far to the north.

Lee's Ferry lies to the northeast between the Vermilion (left) and Echo Cliffs (right).

Shinumo Altar, a remnant of Moenkopi capped by the resistant Shinarump Conglomerate, is visible directly to the east of Tatahatso Point.  The Echo Cliffs are present in the far background.

Multiple large veins of minerals (mainly quartz), were observed in fractures along the Eminence Break Fault zone during the climb and descent of the route.  Mineralization along faults is common and has led to the locating of many mines at fault zones.

A large landslide is also developed along the Eminence Break Fault.   The headscarp of the Eminence Break Landslide appears to exactly follow the strike of the fault.  These views show the landslide as it is seen from just downstream on the river.

Downdropped strata (left) is observed near the headscarp of the Eminence Breaks Landslide.  This is not fault displacement as the east (left) side of the fault has uplifted relative to the west (right) side.  Displaced strata may be seen in the upper right corner of this photo.

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E-mail Dr. J David Rogers at
or Conor Watkins at