Thursday, June 30, 2011

The only geologist on an archeology trip

Way back in graduate school my emphasis was on the glacial history of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. At the time, I loved the alpine environments, the cold temperatures and the climbing associated with glaciers. However, as I have grown older I have found that I enjoy the warmer climate of the desert southwest. Please don't get me wrong, I still spend time in an alpine environment, but the desert places have captured a big part of me.

While exploring the canyons found in the southwest I have changed my geology interests from glacial episodes of the Quaternary to the ergs of the Mesozoic. With more and more time spent in the canyons, I have found a strong interest in the previous occupants of the canyon country. You can only look through so many ruins and see so many rock art panels before you are just driven to know more.

So, a few weeks ago I joined a group of both professional and amateur archaeologists on a float down the San Juan river in SE Utah. What fun! What great examples of rock art. And, I was able to explain how some of the geology happened to be. The story in the rocks actually started 350 million years ago...not just 1100 years ago

Chert nodules
iron concretions. Many of my fellow explorers were not ready for a little chemistry lesson at river side to explain the origin of either the chert or the concretions.
The rock art was tremendous

The Mexican Hat. What a great example of the more resistant cap rock
The Raplee anticline

1 comment:

About Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

I would love a post on the origin of those chert nodules and also on sandstone concretions. :)