Monday, May 24, 2010

a Geo-Image Bonanza AW 25?

This month's Accretionary Wedge is all about geo-images, specifically one image that means something to you (or actually me) and the science of geology.

My image is taken from the needles section of Canyonlands National Park. The vantage point is on a pass between two small drainages. You can see the bulk of the Abajo Mountains, the cliffs of the Canyon Rim area, one of the six-shooter peaks and the red and white striped Cedar Mesa formation. This image has it all. The Abajo mountains are one of the laccolithic bodies that can be found on the Colorado Plateau. With elevations over 11,000 they catch a bit of precipitation which provides the water to carve these magnificent canyons. The Canyon Rim wall is made of the Kayenta, Wingate and Chinle formations. These three rock units are a wonderful example of how the past climate here has changed from desert to underwater. Six Shooter Peak, (Wingate and Kayenta) not only has a decidedly Western name, but is an example of erosion here in the arid west. The Cedar Mesa formation, another aeolian deposit, shows how the source material can change how the rocks look today.

Most important, to me, is that this image has a story to tell. Currently, I travel around the Intermountain West doing field trips on my own, I sometimes feel like those movie-prospectors with a map, compass, rock hammer, GPS and my old note book wandering around in the canyons. Most of my geology talking is now done in front of elementary and middle school kids and their teachers. My theme is always that the rocks have a story to tell and it is up to us to pull out the story.

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