Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The traveling meme

I caught this over at Looking for Detachment and thought I would add my two cents. I love traveling and seeing different places around the world..or at least different places of my part of the world.

The year started skiing on Red Mountain Pass. The winter ended with "normal" snowfall and good water all summer.

The big trip was flying to San Francisco for the birth of our first grand child. It is so much fun watching your kid being a parent!
I spent some time outside the Colorado Plateau in Ladore Canyon last summer. We followed the Green River down from Flaming Gorge dam all the way through Dinosaur NM. Some fun geology!
The Green River
Riding bikes in the Circle Cliffs of Utah
I took a couple of trips to DC. One working with NG who keeps us busy every second we are there.
We have always been interested in the ruins and rock art we see as we look at geology across the plateau. This summer we started getting serious about studying archeology. Here we are on a back country hike in Mesa Verde
The Colorado high country!
This fall I spent a lot of time in and around Moab. Whether it was bike riding, canyoneering or geology field trips, I learned more about the area this year than in many other field seasons.
We even caught a flash flood.

..and now it is winter again. Another full season of exploring the 4-Corners area.

Here is the Black Canyon
and the Red Mountain mining district.
We were able to catch one more riding weekend in Moab. Riding towards the La Sal mountains
No, I didn't crash. I just wanted my bike in the picture right below "the tombstone" a Wingate monolith.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What is in a name?

I am a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. It took me awhile to regularly use the Neogene and the Paleogene instead of the Tertiary period. I am dreading the day when the Quaternary will no longer exist. But last month while in the Canyonlands I noticed that one of my favorite formations apparently does not exist. No its not some revisionist erosion but a change in naming.

Elephant Canyon is a really fun little canyon deep in the Needles. The canyon bottom has miles of a classic grey/ greenish grey limestone that is full of obvious Permian fossils. It was always a joy to walk the length of the canyon right on the bedding plane between the limestone below and the Cedar Mesa sandstone above. The problem was that the mappable unit called Elephant Canyon Limestone is just not that easy to determine, so for years maps have shown that the Elephant Canyon was inter-fingered with the Halgaito Formation. But now, I see that the Halgaito formation is inter-fingered with the Lower Cutler.

To make the area a little more complicated, just a little bit to the west, the whole sequence of rock units is lumped into the Culter-undivided. Who thought up this system?

Not only does this give me a great excuse to do more research in my favorite place in the world, but I have to learn a new naming system. As any teacher will tell you, I have only so much room for names and that was filled way back in the mid-90's, so wish me luck.

The old stratigraphic column. Taken from the NPS web site. Notice down in the Permian that the Elephant Canyon is listed with the Halgaito Fm. You may have to click to expand.

The new stratigraphic column in miniature font. Please click it to read! Again, down in the Permian the Halgaito shale is now interfingered with the Lower Cutler.