Horseshoe Bend in Colorado River

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River is an entrenched meander, located just below the Glen Canyon Dam in Page Arizona. Photographer Wendy Van Norden

While most meanders are found “meandering” back and forth across the alluvium of a river’s flood plain, an entrenched meander is cut into the bedrock. This type of meander forms when land under a meandering river is uplifted by tectonic forces thereby rejuvenated the river, giving it additional power to erode downward into its bed.

If prolonged over hundreds of thousands of years, such erosion may form a gorge.

At Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River has cut through eolian Jurassic sandstones creating scenic Glen Canyon.