Fajada Butte dominates the landscape. Exposed rock layers reveal the regions geologic and human history.
Cliff House Sandstone forms the upper layer with deposits of fossil shells, clams, shark teeth, and marine sand. Menefee Formation forms the lower layers, combining siltstones and mudstones interbedded with sandstone, shale, and thin coal beds. This easily eroded formation undercuts the harder sandstone layer above, causing unsupported boulders to break off and continue the erosion process of Fajada Butte.
The Chacoan people used the various rock layers in their daily lives. They quarried sandstone for building materials, tools, and food processing (manos and metates). Cliff faces provided a place to record symbols and images. Fossils, shale, jet, and argillite were used for jewelry.
Today Fajada Butte is a sacred place for the Pueblo, Hopi,, and Navajo peoples. The butte figures prominently in their oral histories, migration stories, and ongoing traditions, revealing their connections to the land.