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The original Moab was an important biblical figure. According to Genesis, Moab was the son of Lot (of Sodom fame) and his oldest daughter. Despite this rather incestuous beginning, Moab and his descendants, who became known as Moabites, thrived. Their land, on the east bank of the Jordan River, inside present-day Jordan, is often refered to as the plains of Moab. The Moabites generally play a small supporting role in the early bible stories.

This ancient Moab also lends its name to the city of Moab in southeastern Utah. It is located between the Colorado River to the east and the La Sal Mountains on the west, and was settled in the late 1870s. Nearby is the Gaston Quarry, an important paleontological site. There have been varying degrees of industry in the area, including uranium, oil, and potash extraction. Today the biggest industry is tourism; it is just south of Arches National Park and sits at the northern entrance to Canyonlands National Park. The area is particularly well known for the slickrock trails, a favorite of mountain bikers.

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