Entries by Lance

Were the Ice Ages really just True Polar Wandering Events?

This is one of those things that once you see, you can’t unsee. It was during my undergraduate or graduate work toward my degree in geology and geophysics that I first noticed that the majority of Northern Russia, Siberia and Northern Alaska were never fully glaciated during the Ice Age. In fact the areas where […]

The Cockscomb Monocline & Cottonwood Wash of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Tourists and geologists alike come from all over the world to see and study the magnificent exposures of geologic units displayed in Utah’s Colorado Plateau region. Of particular interest is the Grand Staircase, which is an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretches south from Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument […]

Utah’s Not So Old Faithful, Crystal Geyser

When most people think about geysers, they picture a Yellowstone- like hot spring where pressure from steam sends a tall column of water into the air. In Utah, however, several “geysers” erupt due to the same process that causes soda pop to shoot out of the can when you hold your finger over t he […]

The Geology of Zion National Park

Although the geology of the Zion National Park includes nine known exposed formations, all visible in Zion National Park in the U.S. state of Utah, Zion is predominately the result of one spectacular unit, the Navajo Sandstone. Zion’s formations represent about 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation in that part of North America. Part of a super-sequence of rock units called the Grand Staircase, the time exposed […]

The Vishnu Schist

(exposed in Arizona’s Grand Canyon) The Vishnu schist is part of the Vishnu complex in the exposed basement rocks of the Grand Canyon region. This metamorphic layer was formed by the intrusion of plutonic masses from under the crust and the deposit of sediment from an eroded mountain chain. The oldest rocks in the Vishnu […]

Utah’s Three Types of Volcanoes

Perhaps because it is covered in detail in Grade School and Middle School curriculum, one of the most asked geologic questions I hear from youth has to do with differentiating between the three types of volcanoes.   Three Main Types of Volcanoes* The three main types of volcanoes differ in shape, size, and make-up; the […]