Sample Research Grant Proposals for Geology

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					Hanover College Major Grant Report on Research Related to:

        Redesigning Geology of National Parks
             and Monuments (GEO 242)
      in Light of the New Academic Vision Plan
                  at Hanover College

      A New Course Development Proposal Submitted
          to the Faculty Development Committee
                  (Major Grant Category)
                     Kenneth A. Bevis

                 Department of Geology
                    Hanover College
                 Hanover, Indiana 47243
Redesigning Geology of National Parks and Monuments (GEO 242)
in Light of the New Academic Vision Plan at Hanover College

A Brief Restatement of the Proposed Project

       A vital goal of the new Vision Plan at Hanover College is to “experience the discipline”
as it is truly practiced, by professionals. Geology is first and foremost a field-based science,
thus, in the Geology program, this goal could be accomplished through science LADR
offerings that include experiencing geology as it is practiced “in the field”, and through Off-
campus Experience courses that provide opportunities to visit geologically diverse regions
(and that offer plenty of cultural and historical diversity as well). Currently, the Geology
Department offers such a course as a GDR, GEO 242, Geology of the National Parks and
Monuments. This course has not been offered recently (since 1995) primarily because of the
changing interests of its author/teacher, Dr. Pete Worcester. It is my intention to redesign
GEO 242 as an optional second Natural World course in the two-course science LADR
sequence (meeting the requirements of the Off-campus Experience as well) to be offered
Spring semester of alternate years.
       My course will concentrate on the study of the natural geological features and history
of selected national parks and monuments in the southwestern United States, mainly the
Colorado Plateau region. The primary goal of the course is to offer undergraduates at
Hanover College not majoring in a science the opportunity to experience geological
phenomena in natural field settings that they would normally only learn about from texts and
classroom activities. Students will develop skills with: 1) the identification of minerals,
rocks, and fossils, their modes of formation, and their environments of preservation; 2) the
identification of landforms and their processes of formation; 3) field measurement
techniques, sample preparation and collection, and mapping of bedrock outcroppings and
surficial materials; and 4) interpretation of geological relationships as observed in the field.
Research will be conducted in several regional national parks and monuments (Arches
National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Staircase-
Escalante National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, Natural Bridges National
Monument and Zion National Park) and state parks (Deadhorse Point, Escalante, Goosenecks
of the San Juan, and Kodachrome Basin).
       The purpose of this proposal is to describe the new Natural World/Off-campus
Experience course, and to explain the need for funding a field reconnaissance trip to several
parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau region where I intend to conduct the course.
My selection of this area for the course is significant for several reasons. I have personal
experience traveling in this area and am somewhat familiar with its geological diversity
(thus, I know approximately where I want to go already). Information gathered from the
National Park Service and personal experience tells me that the weather in this area will be
conducive to camping and conducting field work in May, unlike areas further north. The
exceptional geologic features of this setting will allow my students to observe and measure
many “textbook” characteristics in a relatively small area, allowing reduction of travel time,
and thus, increasing the effective time available for learning in the field.
      The benefits of this field-oriented science course for Hanover students go beyond the
geology they will learn in class. For many of them, this course may be their first major
experience traveling outside their state of origin or outside the Midwest region. This course
will provide a good deal of exposure to the human history and culture of an unfamiliar
region, and it will provide an in-depth exposure to living “in the rough” and living as a close
communal unit. Therefore, it should serve as an ideal candidate for their Off-campus
Experience, in addition to fulfilling a Natural World requirement.

Description of Activities
     The original proposal was accepted and funded by the Faculty Development Committee
in fall of 2004. Following its approval, two situations arose which indicated to me that
GEO 242 as I had originally proposed to redesign it would not be acceptable as either a
Natural World LADR course or as an Off-campus Experience course. When the Natural
World LADR courses and schedules became firm in late fall and early winter of 2004, it
became apparent to me that my May Term travel course would not fit well, primarily because
it would only be offered alternate years, and because I physically can not conduct a field
course with 24 students (which is the current enrollment limit in Natural World courses and
the number I would have to take on from my LADR paring). Extensive winter semester
discussions involving the faculty, administration, and personnel of The Haq Center
concerning the nature of the Off-campus Experience courses stipulated in the Vision Plan,
indicated that a significant “cultural component” would be required. Therefore, when I
began making final arrangements for my summer’s research regarding the new GEO 242, I
revised my originally proposed trip itinerary to take in more southwestern cultural and
historical sites. My intention was to broaden the material I would eventually cover in the
revised GEO 242 course to cover that “cultural component”, qualifying it for Off-campus
Experience status, while dropping any notion of teaching it as a Natural World LADR for the
time being (at least until our enrollments are reduced to 15 students as indicated in the Vision
Plan). Many ancient Native American sites representing the Anasazi (more politically
correct “Ancestral Puebloan”) and Fremont cultures were explored, as well as visits to the
modern Taos Pueblo and the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. Several early Mormon
settlements and evidence of their former mining and ranching operations were also
     My initial objectives were to conduct field reconnaissance in most of the parks and
monuments of the Four Corners/Colorado Plateau region in order to identify potential field
sites where my students and I can work effectively. Several practical limitations governed
my selections. First, there must be adequate facilities near the study sites to reduce travel
time and to provide students with the “bare necessities” for a comfortable learning
environment. This includes camping facilities, but also access to phones, the occasional
shower and laundry, and such places as grocery stores, hotels and/or restaurants. Second, the
study sites must have adequate access in order to observe geological and archaeological
features without causing an undue amount of stress on the students, myself, our vehicle, or
the resources of the parks themselves. This essentially means that roads of reasonably good
quality must reach to within, at most, a few miles of the study sites, and that hiking trails
provide relatively easy and safe travel within the area. Third, the field areas must provide
enough “breath and depth” of geological and cultural features to make it an interesting and
informative place to examine.
     What follows is a brief description of the geology and/or archaeology of the sites I
visited in each state of the Four Corners region, including information on park
accommodations. Several of the sites included here were visited during my May Term
Glacial Geology course. As I discuss various sites, you may wish to refer to Figure 1 and
Table 1 in the Appendix: Figure 1 is a time chart of southwest Native American cultural
development; and Table 1 is a generalized stratigraphic section and geologic time scale for
the Colorado Plateau.

Description of Sites Visited in Colorado
Anasazi Heritage Center (Dolores, CO)
     This large museum houses a significant collection of Ancestral Puebloan artifacts
which are presented in numerous interactive displays. It very adequately describes the
history and lifeways of the Ancestral Puebloan peoples that occupied southwestern Colorado,
and serves as the gateway visitor center for the newly established Canyons of the Ancients
National Monument. Located adjacent to the Center are two archaeological sites, the
Dominguez and Escalante ruins built by Pueblo III peoples in the 12th century AD. The
former site represents a small “unit pueblo”, typically an interconnected block of no more
than half a dozen rooms, occupied by an extended family, while the latter site is a much
larger complex or “great house *” constructed on a knoll containing two “great kivas **” It
probably served as a ceremonial center for the many unit pueblos (such as the Dominguez
ruins) found scattered throughout the adjacent area.
     * Great houses represent large, multi-unit pueblos that were likely occupied by several
to several dozen extended families. These structures also probably served as ceremonial
centers and were generally unique to the Chacoan culture (or peoples influenced by the
Chacoan culture) of the Ancestral Puebloans.
     ** Kivas are large, circular, stone-walled, pit-structures with inverted wooden crib-style
roofs covered in earth. These structures often occur as pairs, one likely serving as a
communal work site, the other for performing various religious and other social ceremonies.
Great kivas are simply the same design on a grander scale that likely served multiple
extended families.
     The Center is located near Dolores, CO, which is within a few hours drive of the
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, and Mesa
Verde National Park. Although the main focus of its museum is on the Ancestral Puebloans
that occupied the Great Sage Plain area below and north of Mesa Verde, I would high
recommend a visit here, prior to actually visiting any pueblo ruins. The Center charges a
$3.00 per person entrance fee that includes guided tours of local ruins.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
     This extensive monument administered by the BLM was established to protect the
multitude of cultural resources scattered among the canyons that drain southwestward from
the tableland making up the Great Sage Plain into the San Juan River near the southern
Colorado-Utah border. Its late Archaic, Basketmaker, and Pueblo I, II, and III archaeological
sites span the period 1500 BC to 1300 AD and represent all of the major phases of Ancestral
Puebloan development. Lowry Pueblo, a Pueblo III, Chacoan style great house which
contains 40 rooms, eight kivas, and a great kiva is the best studied ruin within the Monument.
It was constructed around 1060 AD and inhabited for about 165 years. It probably served as
a ceremonial center and trade center for much of the surrounding area.
     Entrance to the Lowry Pueblo is free, and access is via paved and well-maintained
gravel roads.

Chimney Rock Archeological Area
     This locality lies within the San Juan National Forest at the northeastern fringe of the
region occupied by the Ancestral Puebloans. Its construction on a rocky spire resembles an
old European monastery. It contains a Chacoan-style great house and adjacent great kiva of
Pueblo III construction, and its architectural design indicates that it served as an astronomical
observatory and ceremonial center. The promontory on which the ruins are located is near
the alluvial valley of the Piedra River where much evidence of unit pueblo type “farmsteads”
has been unearthed.
     The site is administered by the Forest Service and is only open May through October
to guided tours costing $6.00 per person. Access is via paved and well-maintained gravel

Colorado National Monument
     Located near Grand Junction, CO, this monument contains a spectacular example of a
monoclinal fold * a fold in the rocks making up the earth’s uppermost crust accompanying a
buried fault that has only one limb), the major style of deformation found throughout the
otherwise relatively undeformed Colorado Plateau. This deformation is associated with the
Laramide orogeny ** that built the modern Rocky Mountains between 65 and 50 million
years ago. The center of the monocline is eroded to the extent that billion-year-old
Precambrian metamorphic rocks are exposed.
     Nicely exposed within the monument’s extensive, deeply carved canyons is much of
the Mesozoic sedimentary rock sequence seen in many of the other parks of the central and
northern Colorado Plateau. More than 500 million years of rock record are missing between
the Precambrian crystalline basement rocks below and the Mesozoic rocks above, a gap
represented by the Great Unconformity. The sedimentary rocks begin with the upper Triassic
age Chinle Formation, a unit composed of mudstone and small amounts of sandstone,
conglomerate, and limestone. The Chinle represents a swampy, coastal floodplain and
mudflats with meandering streams. The Wingate Sandstone of Lower Jurassic age overlies
the Chinle, its massively cross-bedded sandstones representing deposition during a time of
great sandy deserts throughout the region. Above the Wingate lies the Kayenta Formation,
also of Lower Jurassic age. This unit is mostly sandstone with some shales and
conglomerates, representing deposition by high-energy braided-river systems flowing
westward from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. The Middle Jurassic age Entrada Sandstone
overlies the Kayenta, and its orange to white sandstones represent coastal dunes and/or sand-
flats. The Middle Jurassic age Wanakah Formation overlies and intertongues with the
Entrada Sandstone, its mudstones representing deposition in coastal mudflats and/or shallow
coastal lakes. The Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, famous for its dinosaur bones, is well
exposed overlying the Wanakah. The Morrison is subdivided into three units, the lower
Tidwell, middle Salt Wash, and upper Brushy Basin members. The Tidwell member is
mostly composed of mudstones deposited in fresh to salty coastal lake environments. The
Salt Wash member is mostly composed of sandstones deposited in stream channels and
adjacent floodplains and swampy lakes. The Brushy Basin member is mostly composed of
mudstones deposited on coastal mudflats. Colorful banding in this unit is due to deposition
of multiple ash layers from volcanic activity to the west. Overlying the Morrison is the
Burro Canyon Formation of Lower Cretaceous age. The lower portion of this unit is
dominantly sandstone deposited by swift, westward flowing braided streams, while the upper
portion is mudstone deposited on floodplains and in shallow lakes. The conglomerates,
sandstones, and mudstones of the Upper Cretaceous Dakota Formation overlie the Burro
Canyon and form the uppermost sedimentary rocks found within the park. These interbedded
sedimentary rocks represent coastal estuary, tidal channel, lagoon, and shoreline beach and
barrier island deposition. The entire exposed sedimentary rock sequence generally represents
a coastal floodplain environment (much like the modern Gulf coast) in which deposition was
highly influenced by various stages of encroachment from the adjacent seaway to the west.
Deposition was also significantly controlled by erosion from the Ancestral Rockies lying to
the east.
      Many excellent exposures of these rocks can be found along the canyon rim drive and
the valley-floor trail system. Entrance to the monument is $7.00 per vehicle, all roads are
paved, and it has a nice campground that charges $10.00 per site per night.
     * A monocline is a fold in the rocks making up the earth’s uppermost crust
accompanying a buried fault that has only one limb, as opposed to anticlines and synclines
that have two limbs.
     ** An orogeny is a mountain building event, do to compressional forces,
extensional forces, magmatic intrusion, and/or volcanism.

Great Sand Dunes National Monument (Park)
     Located near Alamosa, CO, this monument was recently made a national park when it
was expanded significantly in size to include not only the dune field from which it gets its
name, but also much of the adjacent Sangre de Cristo Mountains which make such an
amazing backdrop for the dunes. The park preserves the entire active dune complex and the
hydrological basin that is integral to it. These dunes formed during the Pleistocene Ice Ages
of the Late Cenozoic (within the last 2 million years) and remain active because of their
unique physiographic setting. The dunes are stacked up against the adjacent mountains (the
mountains prevent the throughflow of air and create an eddying effect where sand carried in
the wind is deposited). Snowmelt carried in the streams of the Medano Creek watershed
recycle sand from the eastern edge of the dune field back to the west; where the water
disappears into the sandy valley floor, sands are once again entrained by the wind and moved
back to the east and into the dunes. The original source of all the sand was a braided stream
system in the upper San Luis Valley (the ancestral Rio Grande) feed by meltwater from the
glaciated San Juan Mountains to the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east.
After the glaciers retreated and the valley became vegetated, the unique characteristics of the
dune field allowed it to remain active.
     Great Sand Dunes National Park affords excellent opportunities to view active dune
and stream processes, and nearby access to the glacial features of the Sangre de Cristo
Range. The park charges a $6.00 per person entrance fee and has excellent camping facilities
for $12.00 per site per night.

Mesa Verde National Park
     This park preserves the spectacular canyon and mesa top ruins of the Ancestral
Puebloans that inhabited Mesa Verde * in southwestern Colorado. Although the park
contains a significant number of archaeological sites spanning all major developmental
phases of the Ancestral Puebloans, it is of course, world-renowned for its cliff dwellings.
These archaeological sites represent Pueblo III peoples, the final phase of cultural
development in the Mesa Verde area and date from about 1100 to 1300 AD. Several of the
structures contain dozens of interconnected rooms and many kivas suggesting occupation by
50 to 150 people in large clans. Much older Pueblo I pit-house structures (700-900 AD),
Pueblo II unit pueblos (900-1100 AD), and massive Pueblo III ruins are also found on mesa
tops adjacent to canyon cliff dwellings. The mesa tops also preserve evidence of irrigation
farming (near Far View Ruins and Cedar Tree Tower) in the form of terraced slopes and
water retention basins and at least one site built for astronomical observation
(Sun Temple).
     Mesa Verde itself is formed by a resistant caprock of sandstone overlying less resistant
shales. Upper Cretaceous age sedimentary rocks (overlying those of Colorado National
Monument) are exposed along the northern scarp of the mesa, including the Cliff House
Sandstone, Menefee Shale, and Point Lookout Sandstone of the Mesa Verde group and the
much thicker underlying Mancos shale (Figure 2). These rocks record the waxing and
waning of the last major inland sea to cover portions of western North America. Fossils and
sedimentary structures indicate that the Cliff House and Point Lookout Sandstones are near
shore (beach) deposits, the Menefee shale is a continental, coastal swamp and stream deposit,
and the Mancos shale is a deep marine deposit.
     Restored cliff dwellings open to visitation are concentrated on Wetherill Mesa and
Chapin Mesa. These structures can be visited via guided tours (Long House on Wetherill
Mesa and Balcony House and Cliff Palace on Chapin Mesa) for $2.75 per person per tour)
and by self-guided auto and hiking tours. The park also contains several mesa top pueblo
ruins and older pit-house ruins with self-guided access. The entrance fee is $10.00 per
vehicle. A huge 400-site campground that includes shower and laundry facilities is available
at $20.00 per site per night.
     * Ancestral Puebloan peoples that inhabited Mesa Verde are somewhat distinct from
the Chacoan peoples in that they rarely built great houses or great kivas. Their society also
survived about 100 years longer than the Chacoans to the south. These people are generally
referred to as Mesa Verdeans.
Description of Sites Visited in New Mexico
Aztec National Monument
        This monument is located on the banks of the San Juan River near Aztec, NM and
preserves two archaeological ruins unique among Ancestral Puebloan sites. Structures here
show cultural influence by both the Chacoan and Mesa Verdean * Pueblo III peoples. The
eastern ruin is unexcavated. The western ruin is restored for visitation and contains
spectacular examples of a Chacoan-style great house and a fully constructed replica of a great
        The entrance fee is $4.00 per person which includes access to the ruins and a small
        * The Chacoan culture was concentrated in the San Juan basin of northwestern New
Mexico, especially the tributary basin of Chaco Wash and was the earliest group on the
Colorado plateau to develop unit pueblos and massive community pueblos. This culture
culminated around 1200 AD and its influence is generally identified by the presence of great
house, great kiva, and /or great road architecture, unique black-on-white painted pottery, and
a distinctive masonry involving interlayered coarse sandstone blocks alternating with fine
sandstone chinks. The Mesa Verdean culture concentrated in the Mesa Verde and
Montezuma Valley areas of southwestern Colorado and culminated around 1300 AD. The
Mesa Verdeans probably absorbed a large number of Chacoan immigrants when that former
society collapsed or disbanded.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park
        This park preserves an amazing collection of archaeological sites within the immediate
vicinity of Chaco Canyon, remnants of what is considered the greatest center of Ancestral
Puebloan culture in the Four Corners region. Its most distinguishing features are the
incredible concentration of great houses built by Pueblo II and Pueblo III peoples between
the mid-800s and mid-1100s AD, the ancient network of roads that radiate outward from the
great houses to the far corners of the San Juan basin like spokes of a wheel, and the extensive
evidence for the use of irrigation agriculture. It is the archaeological features of this park and
its canyon that typify not only the Chacoan culture, but the greater Ancestral Puebloan
culture as a whole.
     There are twelve great houses within the park, nine on the canyon floor, and three on
the adjacent mesa tops, the smallest (Kin Kletso) having over 100 rooms and five kivas and
the largest (Pueblo Bonito) having nearly 700 rooms and 40 kivas, including two great kiva.
These structures required the use of more the 215,000 ponderosa pine just to form their roofs,
all of which had to be hauled in from forested areas 30-40 miles distant. Casa Rinconada is
the largest great kiva in the park and one of the largest in the southwest. Its size and distinct
architectural design give it its name and provide the model by which great kivas and Chacoan
cultural influence are recognized throughout the Four Corners region. The extensive
Chacoan road system contains over 400 miles of known engineered surfaces laid out in
straight segments between Chaco Canyon’s social center and outlying farming communities
under Chacoan control. An astronomical observatory occurs on Fajita Butte, a rocky
promontory near the upper end of the canyon. Sunlight passing through the fractures in a
large boulder split into three pieces strikes the flat surface of the sandstone wall behind.
Pecked into this wall are glyphs that correspond to the positions of the solstices and
     The great houses, roads, and water collection and dispersal systems built by the
Chacoan people suggest a significant, unified labor force. These features, combined with
observatory and the amazingly diverse array of pottery, beads, fetishes, jewelry, and exotic
shells, birds, and copper items suggest that Chaco Canyon served as a center of trade and
ceremony. Goods as well as cultural ideas were exchanged within the greater Chacoan
system, as well as externally with groups as far south as Mexico, as far west as the Pacific
coast, and as far east as the high plains and Gulf of Mexico.
     The canyon exposes the upper Cliff House sandstone and Menefee shale units of the
Mesa Verde Group. Excellent outcrops of coal seams within the Menefee shale point to its
continental, swampy origin, while cross-bedded sands and fossil root casts within the Cliff
House sandstone indicate a coastal dune setting.
     Entrance to the park is $7.00 per person; the campground costs $10.00 per site per night.

Taos Pueblo (Taos Indian Reservation)
     In the developmental time-line accepted by most archaeologists and anthropologists,
historic Pueblo Indians at the time of Spanish conquest are placed in the Pueblo IV stage and
modern Pueblo Indians are placed in the Pueblo V stage. My reason for visiting the Taos
Pueblo was to gather some insight into the probable connection between the modern pueblo
people of the Rio Grande River valley and the Ancestral Puebloan people of the Four
Corners region. I wanted to observe firsthand what a modern pueblo looked like and obtain a
brief glimpse of how these people lived and worked and what they believed in, so that I
might obtain a better mental image of Ancestral Puebloan lifeways.
     The oral tradition of the Taos Pueblo suggests this community is the oldest
continuously occupied Native American structure in North America. Currently, only about
50 natives actually occupy the pueblo year round, mostly older, more traditional people.
Many of the natives make and sell crafts from their homes (I saw turquoise and silver
jewelry, pottery, leatherwork, and drums) and this presents a great opportunity for students to
interact with these people. They are quite happy to explain their craftsmanship and describe
the symbols etched or painted on their work. Tours are given by local inhabitants (included
with the entrance fee) that provide useful information on the pueblo’s history and some of the
cultural beliefs of these people. The tour guides are quite willing to answer questions and
provide additional details when asked. For example, we learned that Red Willow Creek,
which flows through the pueblo grounds, comes from a source (Blue Lake) high in the
Sangre de Cristo Mountains sacred to them. The water in lake and stream is said to be pure
and both figure significantly in their myths. Only recently was the land surrounding the lake
returned to the pueblo after having been confiscated by the Forest Service in the early 1900s.
     The Pueblo charges a $5.00 per student and $10.00 per person entrance fee (+ $5.00 per
camera). Access is limited to designated public areas (including the courtyard near the main
pueblo building, the still-in-use 17th century Spanish church and ruins of the 15th church).

Description of Sites Visited in Arizona
Canyon de Chelly National Monument (Navajo Reservation)
     This monument is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Navajo
Reservation. It preserves the spectacular Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto of upper
Chinle Wash near Chinle, AZ which contain significant Ancestral Puebloan ruins as well as
the farms of Navajo people who have occupied the canyons since the 1600s. The name
Chelly is Spanish and is pronounced “Shay”, it is derived from the Navajo word Tseyi which
means “rock canyon”, thus Canyon of the Rocks. The twin canyons contain sites that are
sacred to the Navajo people, including Spider Rock, an 800+ foot red-rock monolith rising
from the floor of Canyon de Chelly. (Navajo mythology says this is the lair of the Spider
Woman. The white cap rock at the monolith’s top represents the bones of “bad” children that
she kidnapped and ate). Other sites include Massacre Cave and Navajo Fortress, two
locations that figured prominently into Navajo resistance in their war with the U.S. Army in
the latter part of the 1800s.
      The canyon floors are inhabited by Navajo that still practice many of the traditional
lifeways of their people. While the Navajo are not related to Ancestral or modern Puebloan
people (they migrated into the region only as early as the 16th century), they have adopted
many of their Hopi and Rio Grande Pueblo Indian neighbor’s culture. The canyons contain
many farmsteads with traditional Hogans, Navajo homes built much like an above-ground
kiva, and traditional cultivation of corn in dispersed, raised mounds. Unguided access to the
canyons in the park is limited to the White House pueblo ruins (and trail). This Pueblo III
archaeological site is one of the best preserved in the park. Otherwise, a unique feature of
the park is the guided tours provided by Thunderbird Lodge or several independent Navajo
guides. The lodge offers ½-day and full-day tours for $40.00 and $65.00 per person,
respectively, while the independent guides charge $15.00 per hour for up the 8 people, either
hiking or via your own 4x4. Limited time did not permit me to take a tour of the canyon
bottoms, but I believe it would be worth it just for the opportunity to interact with a native
guide. I am told there are ample opportunities to ask questions and hear information on the
area from a native’s perspective.
      Paved rim drives with pullouts provide ample opportunities to view the narrow, deep
canyons cut into the Permian age De Chelly Sandstone (this unit is time correlative with the
Coconino Sandstone of the Grand Canyon area). One can find Navajo selling their
handicrafts at many of these pullouts, again providing an opportunity to talk and barter with
the natives. The canyon rims are formed primarily of resistant Shinarump Conglomerate, the
lowermost member of the Triassic age Chinle Formation. The low-angle cross-bedding and
coarse pebbly nature of this sedimentary rock unit signify deposition in braided streams, the
northwest flowing streams rising in the Ancestral Rockies to the east. The underlying De
Chelly Sandstone forms most of the sheer canyon walls and contains massive cross-bedding
indicative of its wind-deposited origin in a great sandy desert of the Triassic period.

Four Corners Monument (Navajo Reservation)
     The Four Corners Monument is administered by the Navajo Reservation and can be
visited by paying and entrance fee of $3.00 per person. The monument itself is simply a
stainless-steel plate set in concrete that denotes the intersection of the boundaries of
Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. For myself, the many Navajo craftsmen lining
the courtyard around the monument were far more interesting. Because of my trip itinerary,
this was actually my first opportunity to interact with Native Americans, quite an enjoyable
experience. I found them friendly and quite willing to explain how they made their various
handicrafts, and I learned enough Navajo symbolism to at least better appreciate the two
pieces of pottery I purchased.

Hopi Cultural Center (Hopi Reservation)
     My reason for visiting the Hopi Reservation was essentially the same as my reason for
going to the Taos Pueblo. I wanted to further explore the connections between these modern
pueblo people and the Ancestral Puebloan people. I wanted to observe firsthand what a
modern Hopi pueblo looked like and I wanted to briefly examine how these people lived and
worked and what they believed in.
     The Hopi Reservation is contained entirely within the Navajo Reservation. Most of the
natives live in three clusters of communities on the First, Second, and Third Mesas,
extensions of the much larger Black Mesa to the northeast. I stayed at the Hopi Cultural
Center on Second Mesa.
     My first impressions were generally disappointing. The abject squalor of the
reservation communities was frightening (tar-paper shacks and yards filled with trash
everywhere), and yet many hovels had brand new vehicles parked out front. For a people
who claim to be spiritually “close to the earth”, they don’t express it very well. I saw little
difference between these poverty-stricken people and those of other areas in the U.S. that
generally have little self respect and therefore little respect for their surroundings (the only
respect comes from owning fancy toys).
      In addition, the Hopi seem very reclusive (unlike their Navajo neighbors), and
generally unwilling to let “outsiders” observe their cultural practices. For example, signs
along roadways indicated that cameras would be confiscated if you were caught taken
pictures, signs at the museum in the Cultural Center warned against taken pictures or making
notes and sketches, and walking freely among their communities was not allowed (guided
tours were available for a fee). Yet at the same time, many households had the proverbial
“satellite dish” on the roof, so they apparently had no problems being barraged by the
senseless junk on American television. The Hopi “Cultural Center” was essentially just a
motel, although a poorly maintained museum charging a $3.00 per person admission fee did
contain a few interesting examples of pottery, baskets, and rugs with explanations of how
they are made. Its most significant feature was a collection of photographs taken around
1900 that showed Hopi performing ceremonial dances and wearing various costumes,
jewelry, hairstyles, etc.
      Again, these are my first impressions after only a brief overnight visit, but to me, the
Hopi appear to be struggling to maintain their traditional culture (by not being very open to
outsiders), but have fallen into the American consumerism trap (they can’t do without their
fancy toys any more than any other American). The Hopi are famous for their handicrafts,
but unlike the Navajo, the Hopi do not “advertise”. That is, one must literally knock on
doors and ask to stand in their parlors in order to view their wares. I found this practice
rather disconcerting given the physical condition of their homes and yards (not to mention
the profusion of large dogs, the children walking around with guns, and other odd deterrents).
      What does this potentially mean for my course? At this point, I feel that my future
students can get a better representation of modern puebloan culture with a visit to the Taos
Pueblo and the Navajos of Canyon de Chelly, although I hope to visit at least one different
modern pueblo each time I teach the course.

Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim)
      This is the nation’s premier geological park, a textbook of geology laid bare. The entire
geological portion of my course could be taught here. The grand vistas from the canyon rim
show an amazing array of sedimentary rocks neatly arranged in easily observed layers.
Combined with a hike to the river bottom, one could see more than 2 billion years of earth’s
history exposed. Sedimentary rocks of all varieties occur here, as well as igneous intrusive
and extrusive rocks, and a variety of metamorphic rocks. Erosional unconformities occur
between many of the rock units, and in places these rocks are deformed by north-south
trending faults and folds. Many features of active geomorphic processes found in alpine to
arid desert environments also abound, as well as evidence of Ancestral Puebloan occupation.
     A brief history of the park’s geologic features follows. Precambrian rocks are found in
Grand Canyon’s inner gorge, dark crystalline schists of the Vishnu Group, intruded and
metamorphosed by the Zoraster Granite. The Vishnu schists were once ocean floor
sediments deposited perhaps as far back as 2.5 billion years ago, then later buried, crushed,
folded, and metamorphosed under 12 vertical miles of crustal material during one or more
phases of mountain building. These schists were last intruded and metamorphosed by the
Precambrian Zoraster Granite about 1.8 to 1.6 billion years ago before the entire mountain
range was plained-off by erosion. Above the erosional nonconformity lie tilted wedges of
younger Precambrian conglomerates, sandstones, shales, and limestones, interlayered with
lava flows, representing the 1.2 to 1.0 billion year old Grand Canyon Supergroup. The bright
orange-red Hakatai Shale and dark Cardenas Lavas are the most easily recognized rock units
of this sequence. After rocks of the Grand Canyon Supergroup were deformed by mountain
building, another prolonged period of erosion occurred to close out the Precambrian,
producing what is called the Great Unconformity (representing about 500 million years of
missing earth history).
     Flat-lying Paleozoic sedimentary rocks younger than 550 million years are perched
above the angular unconformity and actually represent much of the rock sequence exposed in
the Grand Canyon. The Cambrian Tapeats Sandstone, Bright Angel Shale, and Muav
Limestone were deposited in near shore to marine shelf settings of an advancing
epicontinental sea. Eventually the sea retreated, leaving the land to be scoured by erosion
through the next 125 million years, and completely removing the matching recessional
sequence of sedimentary rocks. Above the disconformity, a succession of Upper Devonian
to Lower Permian sedimentary rocks was deposited over the next 100 million years. First,
the Devonian Temple Butte Limestone was deposited in a shallow marine environment
within discontinuous patches in low-lying areas of the erosion surface. This unit is overlain
by the deeper marine, fossil-rich muds of the Mississippian Redwall Limestone. The top of
the Redwall Limestone is eroded into a karst terraine, indicating subaerial exposure, but a
calm, shallow sea eventually advanced over the region to deposit the sandy shales of the
Pennsylvanian Supai Group and overlying Hermit Shale. Early in Permian time, the region
was first inundated by a Sahara-like desert as evidenced by the massively cross-bedded
Coconino Sandstone. Later in the Permian, the epicontinental sea readvanced to deposit the
Toroweap and Kaibab Limestones. The Kaibab Plateau off the North Rim is capped by the
Kaibab Limestone; the thousands of feet of younger sedimentary rocks deposited over this
unit were subsequently removed from the region by erosion.
     During and subsequent to this latter phase of erosion, deformation associated with
crumpling of the earth’s crust during the Laramide orogeny between 65 and 50 million years
ago which produced the modern Rocky Mountains north and east of the Colorado Plateau,
and deformation associated with Basin and Range extension to the west beginning about 40
million years ago, left its mark on the Grand Canyon area in the form of many north-south
oriented normal faults and monoclinal folds. More recently, some of these faults in the
western section of the park have acted as conduits for rising magma that has erupted at the
surface to produce flood basalts and large cinder cones. Several of these lava flows entered
and dammed the canyon to form large temporary lakes upstream.
     The formation of the Grand Canyon itself is a geologically recent phenomenon.
Cutting of the canyon probably began only about 5 million years ago consequent with
renewed uplift of the Colorado Plateau. The Ancestral Colorado River probably flowed
southeast (from about where the Little Colorado River joins the Colorado today) into a large
lake basin in east-central Arizona, staying east of the Laramide age Kaibab upwarp.
Meanwhile, a river probably occupying the modern drainage of the lower Colorado cut its
way headward (eastward) into the Kaibab upwarp. Eventually, the eastward migrating
stream met the Ancestral Colorado and captured the section upstream of the modern Little
Colorado (later uplift in eastern Arizona reversed the drainage and formed the Little
Colorado as a tributary of the modern Colorado River). Erosion by the newly modern
Colorado subsequently went to town, augmented by glacial meltwaters during the Pleistocene
Ice Age and gradual regional uplift of the Colorado Plateau.
     Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is $20.00 per vehicle, but the pass lets you in
to both the North Rim and South Rim districts and is good for one week. The North Rim
campground is $15.00 per site per night and is by reservation only. Paved roads within the
park provide access to rim viewpoints at Bright Angel Point, Point Imperial, and Cape Royal
(among others), all affording spectacular views of the upper sedimentary rock sequence.
Other excellent rim views can be found by following appropriate good gravel roads in the
adjacent Kaibab National Forest. To study the rocks up close, and to view the Precambrian
rocks of the inner gorge, extensive, physically strenuous hiking is required (probably two
days to reach the canyon floor, and three more to get back to the rim). Because of the
significant time commitment involved in really getting familiar with the Grand Canyon’s
geology, I would likely omit this park from my future course.

Description of Sites Visited in Utah
Anasazi, Escalante, and Kodachrome Basin State Parks
      I have grouped these three Utah State Parks together because they are all located along
Utah Highway 12 (within about 50 miles of each other) and would likely all be visited on a
trip to this area.
      Anasazi State Park has a small museum and preserves a single Pueblo III
archaeological site (the Coombs Canyon ruin). The museum is excellent, providing some
very useful information through interactive displays, maps, developmental timelines, and a
complete replica of a unit pueblo on the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont cultures of the area.
The park has a $2.00 per person entrance fee. No camping is available.
      Escalante State Park preserves well-exposed outcrops of the Jurassic age Morrison
Formation, particularly the Brushy Basin member which in this area contains a profusion of
petrified wood. None of the petrified wood represents trees in “growth” position, but there
are several large logs and one stump section with well-preserved tree rings. The park charges
a $5.00 per vehicle entrance fee or a camping fee of $14.00 per site per night.
      Kodachrome Basin State Park takes its namesake from the brightly colored sedimentary
rocks exposed throughout the area. Its most unique geologic feature are the over 50 “sand
pipes” found in the park. These are sedimentary structures probably formed by a
combination of liquefaction of lower water-saturated sediment forcefully injected upward
through more consolidated material and subsequent cementation by downward percolating
mineral-rich groundwater. The park also contains an excellent trail system and many good
outcrops of Jurassic Entrada Sandstone and Carmel Formation. The several members of each
of these rock units can be closely examined. The park charges a $5.00 per vehicle entrance
fee or a camping fee of $14.00 per site per night. There are brand new showers and flush
toilets here, and the park lies only about 30 minutes east of Bryce Canyon National Park and
within easy driving distance of several geologically significant sites in the western portion of
the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Arches National Park
     This park preserves more than 2,000 natural stone arches with open spans that range in
size from 3 ft. to 306 ft. across, along with countless eroded stone fins and spires. These
unique geologic formations have primarily developed in sandstone through a combination of
stress fracturing during growth of salt anticlines, downward percolation of water along joints,
and the freeze-thaw weathering process.
     Exposed sedimentary rock in the park is mainly Jurassic Navajo and Entrada
Sandstone. These sandstones overlie a thick layer of salt (the Paradox Formation) that was
deposited over much of the region about 300 million years ago during prolonged evaporation
in a Permian sea. The salt was subsequently buried by more than a mile of sandstones and
mudstones. This overlying material exerted immense pressure on the salt which deformed
plastically, repositioning itself, and squeezing upward along ancient fault zones and doming
the overlying rock into an anticlinal structure (the Salt Valley anticline lies mostly within the
park). Stress fractures or joints developed in the overlying rock during uplift, and surface
erosion eventually stripped away younger rock layers exposing these fracture systems to
weathering processes. Most of the arches are found in the upper, more highly jointed
Entrada Sandstone. Over time, water seeped into cracks and alternate freeze-thaw cycles
allowed ice to expand within the joints to break lose single grains of sand and small pieces of
stone. The fractures widened, eventually forming fins that were attacked by weathering
along each side. Chunks of rock tumbled out, many sections of fins collapsed, but others
with the right degree of hardness and balance survived. Eventually entire spans of rock were
undermined to become the world-famous arches.
     The older Jurassic age Navajo Sandstone is massively cross-bedded and well sorted,
typical of dune sands. This unit is found throughout the Colorado Plateau, representing a
sandy desert of gigantic proportions. The younger Jurassic Entrada Sandstone in this area is
composed predominantly of massively cross-bedded sandstone, again indicating a sand dune
origin, although farther to the west, it is interbedded with siltstones and shales suggesting
coastal tidal flat deposition.
      The Moab, UT area just south of the park also has several interesting features. Moab
itself lies in a valley formed by collapse of another salt anticline. As support of overlying
sedimentary rocks was removed by the dissolution of salts from downward percolating water,
the center of the anticline collapsed. Eventual erosion removed much of this material in the
anticline’s center to leave the long, narrow Moab Valley. The Colorado River cuts a canyon
across the northern end of the anticline; continued dissolution of salts by river water is
causing the northern end of the valley to subside, forming a large, seasonally flooding marsh.
A superb exposure of the Moab Fault, a large normal fault developed by continued collapse
of the anticline at the northern end of Moab Valley is located across the highway from the
park visitor center. Driving up the Colorado River valley from Moab, one can view both
limbs of an anticline bisected by the river and examine gravelly stream terraces perched on
bedrock benches at several levels above the modern river. Excellent petroglyph sites of
Fremont Indian origin abound in the area. One site in particular is called the “birthing scene”
where the figure etched into the rock is clearly pregnant and in the process of giving birth.
This site illustrates one possible significance of petroglyphs, as a form of art. While neither
the Ancestral Puebloan nor Fremont Indians had a written language, they certainly could
express themselves meaningfully through their petroglyphs.
      The park charges a $20.00 entrance fee per vehicle that is good for one week. This pass
is also good for the nearby Canyonlands National Park. Camping is by reservation only and
is $10.00 per site per night. Access to all sites is via paved and good gravel roads.

Bryce Canyon National Park
      The bizarrely amazing landscape of Bryce National Park occurs along the eastern edge
of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, just south of Utah Highway 12 and on the western border of the
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The park preserves fantastic hoodoos, fins,
and arches carved by water and the freeze-thaw process into the mid-Tertiary Claron
Formation, a sequence of limey mudstones and muddy limestones deposited in a huge, Lake
Erie-sized basin sandwiched between the eroded highlands of the Sevier orogeny to the west,
and the modern Rocky Mountains to the east. The “canyon” is not a canyon at all, but a
series of amphitheater-shaped pockets eroded into the plateau’s pronounced eastern scarp
along the Paunsaugunt Fault, a Late Tertiary to modern normal fault. Uplift of sedimentary
rock to the east of the fault stripped away the relatively resistant Claron Formation, exposing
more easily eroded Cretaceous age shales and sandstones below. Erosion of these units east
of the fault lowered this side of the fault relative to the west side where the amphitheater-
gouged scarp now exists. Red Canyon, cut into the western margin of the Paunsaugunt
Plateau exposes the Sevier Fault, another normal fault with uplift to the east and downwarp
to the west that bounds the plateau’s western edge. This fault is likely still active given that
it cuts lava flows that are Pleistocene in age. Offset along both faults can be easily observed
while driving Utah Highway 12 from across the plateau.
      Bryce Canyon has an extensive system of hiking trails and excellent camping facilities.
The park entrance fee is $20.00 per vehicle, while campgrounds are reservation only and cost
$10.00 per site per night. An experimental shuttle bus system has been recently installed,
whereby visitors can park and ride to the various overlooks and trailheads having paid an
entrance fee.

Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky District)
      The Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park lies less than 50 miles
from Moab, UT and Arches National Park, and it would seem almost silly not to visit here if
one were planning to take in Arches and the Moab area. (The Needles District and the Maze
District would involve considerable driving, some of which is on poorly maintained roads).
The “Island in the Sky” is the relatively flat, triangular-shaped plateau perched between
canyons that were formed by downcutting of the Green River (flowing north the south) and
the Colorado River (flowing northeast to southwest). Their confluence lies at the southern
end of the triangle.
      Geology in the park is classic, textbook-style layer-cake stratigraphy represented by
Pennsylvanian through Jurassic age sedimentary rocks. A brief history of the park’s geology
follows. The lowermost rock unit exposed in the area is the Honaker Trail Formation of Late
Pennsylvanian age. This unit is predominantly marine limestones deposited in a large
epicontinental sea covering much of western North America at the time. During the Late
Pennsylvanian, the sea eventually retreated westward and deformation related to salt
intrusion from below (see Arches discussion) tilted the rocks causing localized erosion and
removal of the upper Honaker Trail Formation. Flat-lying interbedded limestones, shales,
and sandstones of the Latest Pennsylvanian-Early Permian Elephant Canyon Formation lie
above the angular unconformity, representing shallow marine deposition in an arm of the sea
which temporarily re-advanced into the area. Sandstones thicken eastward, while limestones
thicken westward within the formation, indicating rising and falling sea level and changing
shoreline position*. The sand source can be traced eastward to the Ancestral Rocky
Mountains. Sandstones of the Cedar Mesa Formation overlie and partially interfingering with
the Elephant Canyon and are of Permian age. Lacking fossils and containing large-scale
cross-bedding, these sandstones likely represent deposition in the barrier island-beach-shore
dune transition of a coastline. Overlying and interfingering with the Cedar Mesa are the
siltstones and shales of the Permian Organ Rock Shale (equivalent to the Hermit Shale in the
Grand Canyon area), representing deposition by meandering streams still draining from the
Ancestral Rockies to the east. The last Permian age rock unit in the area is the White Rim
Sandstone which partially interfingers with the Organ Rock Shale. This unit is very nearly
the same as the Cedar Mesa Sandstone and likely formed in the same environment. Again,
the interfingering of units, appearing and disappearing units, etc., suggests fluctuations in sea
level and shoreline position throughout Late Pennsylvanian and Permian time; in fact, this
relationship is recognized by designating all of these rocks within the Cutler Group**.
     Overlying rock units in the sequence are described elsewhere, but include the Triassic
Moenkopi and Chinle Formations, and the Jurassic Glen Canyon Group comprised of the
Wingate Sandstone, the Kayenta Formation and the Navajo Sandstone. All of these rock
units are impressively exposed from the various park overlooks, although hiking trails in the
park are quite limited. A geologic feature unique to the Island in the Sky District is Upheaval
Dome. Its nearly perfect circular shape was originally thought to have formed by meteoric
impact, but now most geologist believe that it formed over a small, but forceful salt intrusion
(a tiny example of the huge salt anticlines found in the Arches and Moab areas and farther
east). The park also contains evidence of Fremont Indian occupation in the form of brick
and adobe granaries built into sandstone alcoves on the plateau. All roads in the park are
paved and no entrance fee is charged, although the small campground charges $10.00 per site
per night.
     * In general, sandstones, shales, and limestones grade one into another and are
deposited progressively further from shore to form a sedimentary facies.
     ** A group is a series of related sedimentary rocks.

Capitol Reef National Park and Boulder Mountain
     Capitol Reef National Park preserves the geologic features exposed along a spectacular
60-mile long monoclinal fold in the west-central Colorado Plateau. The name “capitol reef”
comes from early white explorers and settlers to the area, many of them originally east coast
sailing men; “reef” because of the physical barrier to east-west passage presented by the
tilted sedimentary rocks making up the fold structure, and “capitol” because of the dome-like
eroded promontories of the Navajo Sandstone, one of the main rock units exposed in the fold.
The structure is known as the Waterpocket Fold, named for the many circular depressions
weathered into exposed surfaces of sandstone. Deformation was associated with the 65 to 50
million year old Laramide orogeny.
     The monoclinal fold itself is absolutely “textbook”; aside from that, the rock sequence
exposed in the park is truly spectacular, representing nearly the entire sedimentary rock
record on the Colorado Plateau except the uppermost Cretaceous and some Tertiary rocks.
These rocks you will recall are completely stripped away by erosion from the Grand Canyon
area. At the base of the sequence are the Permian White Rim Sandstone and Kaibab
Limestone (as described elsewhere), only observable by hiking along Sulfur Creek. The
conspicuous red Moenkopi Formation of Triassic age unconformably overlies the Kaibab
Limestone and is composed of siltstones, shales, and thin limestones deposited in floodplain,
tidal-flat, and lagoonal environments. This unit contains many gypsum beds and veins
formed by intensive evaporation of seawater such as might occur along a desert shoreline. It
is time-equivalent with the Moenave Formation found further to the southwest. The top of
the Moenkopi was exposed to erosion and large northeast to southwest channels cut into it
are filled with the discontinuously deposited Shinarump Conglomerate member of the
Triassic Chinle Formation. Both the Shinarump and Chinle have been described previously.
Overlying the Chinle are the Wingate Sandstone, Kayenta Formation, and Navajo Sandstone
of the Lower Jurassic Glen Canyon Group (also described previously). Above the Glen
Canyon Group are the rocks of the Upper Jurassic San Rafael Group. Lowermost in this
group is the Carmel Formation of similar characteristics and origin to the Moenkopi
Formation lower in the rock sequence. Overlying the Carmel are the Entrada Sandstone and
Curtis and Summerville Formations (all previously described). The Upper Jurassic Morrison
Formation and Lower Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone and Mancos Shale overlie these (all
previously described). The Mancos caps the sequence within the park borders, although the
rest of the Mesa Verde Group (the Cliff House Sandstone, Menefee Shale, and Point Lookout
Sandstone) only outcrop east of the park.
     Boulder Mountain, a large, flat-lying plateau found just west of the park, is capped by
Late Tertiary volcanic rocks predominately composed of basaltic and basaltic andesite lava
flows. Late Tertiary basaltic dikes and sills intrude sedimentary rocks in the northern portion
of the park on the southern margin of the San Rafael Swell. Both areas of volcanism are part
of a larger belt of volcanic activity that progresses from 15 million year old lava flows in
southern Nevada to 3 million year old shallow intrusives of the San Rafael Swell in central
Utah, probably linked to migration of the North American plate westward over a short-lived
hot spot *. Boulder Mountain was extensively glaciated by alpine ice caps several times
during the Pleistocene. Large lobes of ice extended radially from the summit down several
valleys, and huge volumes of meltwater poured down the Fremont River which bisects the
Waterpocket Fold near the center of the park. Several prominent stream terraces composed
of large, black rounded cobbles and gravelly material deposited by glacial meltwater are
perched on sandstones along the edges of the canyon.
     Access too many of the features described above is excellent. Utah Highway 24
follows the Fremont River through the Waterpocket Fold, and many exposures of
sedimentary rock tilting upward and over the axis of the monocline occur along the drive
from Hanksville, UT to Torrey, UT. Utah Highway 12 begins at Torrey, UT and heads
southwest over the eastern flanks of Boulder Mountain, where it connects with the Burr Trail
at Boulder, UT. Good exposures of stream terrace and glacial deposits occur from about the
eastern edge of the park, through Torrey, and all the way to Boulder, UT. Scenic Drive, a
short paved and good gravel road, heads south beyond the park campground and provides
access to several hiking trails and great exposures of the Moenkopi Formation through
Navajo Sandstone. The Caineville Wash - Hartnet Road, a gravel road maintained for high
clearance vehicles only, affords a close exploration of the Cathedral Valley at the northern
end of the park. Here, canyons are carved into Jurassic age rocks of the San Rafael Group
and younger. Amazing stone spires eroded from the Entrada Sandstone, evidence of salt
intrusions, and exceptional exposures of basaltic dikes and sills highlight this route. The
well-maintained gravel Notom-Bullfrog road extends south parallel to the axis of the
monocline, from Highway 24 just east of the park all the way to Lake Powell. This road
provides access to good outcrops in the Dakota Sandstone and Morrison Formation, hiking
trails that wind up several slot canyons cutting across the Waterpocket Fold, and the Burr
Trail. The Burr Trail is partly good gravel and partly paved, and connects the Notom-
Bullfrog road about at its halfway point back to Utah Highway 12 at Boulder, UT. This road
and several side roads wind up and over the Waterpocket Fold and through the Circle Cliffs
upwarp (an eroded structural dome with great exposures of the Moenkopi, Chinle, and
     Fremont Indian ** ruins are scattered through the park. In fact, the Fremont culture
was first described along the Fremont River which passes through the park. Several
sandstone block and adobe granaries, remnants of a pit-house structure, and petroglyphs can
be viewed along Highway 24 and adjacent hiking trails. Much of the early Mormon
community of Fruita is preserved within the park. Many fruit orchards, a uranium mine, a
lime kiln, stone fences, and several buildings (a school, and barn and farmhouse, a
blacksmiths shop, etc.) are maintained by the park.
     I spent a considerable amount of time in the Capitol Reef area because access to the
geologic features was so good. The park does not charge an entrance fee, other than a $5.00
per vehicle fee to access the Scenic Drive, and the camping facilities are great at only $10.00
per site per night. The park is also the gateway to the highly scenic and geologically
fascinating Utah High 12 that runs across Boulder Mountain, through the Grand Staircase –
Escalante National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Anasazi, Escalante, and
Kodachrome Basin State Parks.
     * A hot spot is a stationary heat plume rising from deep within the earth’s mantle that
periodically heats the overlying crust enough to cause melting. Magma then rises through
the earth’s crust, sometimes breaching the surface to form a linear belt of volcanic material
(such as the Hawaiian Islands).
     ** The Fremont Indian culture is distinguished from Ancestral Puebloan societies by a
later arrival and less overall dependence on agricultural production for food, generally less
sophisticated architectural construction and craftsmanship, and distinctive “horned”
shamanic anthropomorphs depicted in their rock art. These people were otherwise
contemporaneous with the Ancestral Puebloan peoples to the south. They apparently
“disappeared” around 1300 AD from areas they are known to have inhabited, possibly out-
competed and forced out by the arrival of nomadic hunter-gathers and absorbed by the
Ancestral Puebloans.

Cedar Breaks National Monument
     This monument is located in a single gargantuan amphitheater carved into the
western edge of the Markagunt Plateau. Here, the Hurricane Fault has exposed more of
the Claron Formation to be eroded into bizarre spires of brilliantly colored orange and
white rock. The fault shows normal offset with uplift to the east and downwarp to the
west. The Hurricane Fault and its partners to the east, the Sevier and Paunsaugunt Faults,
were developed by late Tertiary extension associated with development of the Basin and
Range province to the west and mark the edge of the Colorado Plateau (or more
accurately, the transition zone between the two regions).
     The Claron Formation is overlain on the Markagunt Plateau by volcanic deposits of
the Brianhead Formation, including lava flows and pyroclastic flows and several
substantial cinder cones. These deposits are Latest Tertiary and Quaternary in age and in
places are offset by the Hurricane and Sevier Faults. The age of the volcanic deposits
and displacement on the faults has been used to infer that uplift of the Markagunt Plateau
began about 5 million year ago.
     Paved roads reach the monument from three directions and a short hiking trail takes
you past several exceptional vistas. One can also see several very old Bristlecone Pine
(the longest living species of tree in the world) clinging to the amphitheater’s rim. A nice
campground with sites costing $10.00 per night rarely fills. Unfortunately, Cedar Breaks
occurs at an elevation of about 10,000 feet and snow normally keeps the monument
closed until mid-June.

Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry (Huntington, UT)
      This location is a national natural landmark administered by the BLM. More dinosaur
skeletons were excavated here than any other locality in North America. The fossils were
extracted from the Brushy Basin member of the Morrison Formation. In particular, the
skeletons, primarily of carnivores, were found within several shaley lenses probably
representing abandoned swampy river channels a vast Jurassic age floodplain.
      A small, poorly maintained museum and two large sheds covering ongoing excavations
are open for visitation. The entrance fee is $3.00 per person. The site is geologically
significant, but otherwise not exceptional. However, good gravel roads lead to the locality
through a maze of outcrops in the Morrison which would provide ample opportunities to
examine the formation up close.

Goblin Valley State Park
      This park preserves a large group of interesting, grotesquely shaped rock outcroppings
in the Entrada Sandstone, although several locations also expose the overlying Curtis,
Summerville, and Morrison Formations. Here the Middle Jurassic Entrada Formation is
mainly interbedded shales, siltstones, and sandstones of tidal flat origin. (In Arches, the
sandstone dominated Entrada was deposited as coastal dunes). The Curtis Formation is
composed predominately of sandstones and siltstones. Its greenish-white color comes from
the weathering of glauconite, iron-bearing minerals formed in modern ocean sediments. The
presence of these minerals and the abundant oscillatory ripple marks, suggests that this unit
was deposited in the deeper coastal waters of an advancing Jurassic sea. The interbedded
shales, siltstones, and sandstones of the Late Jurassic Summerville Formation mark retreat of
the sea and deposition in a tidal flat environment again. Gypsum beds and crisscrossing
veins indicate concentrated salts, probably from strong evaporation along a desert coastline.
The lowermost Tidwell member of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation is found atop Wild
Horse Butte, the tallest promontory in the park.
     The park charges a $5.00 per vehicle entrance fee, or $14.00 per site per night camping.
Geologically speaking, this site is very curious, full of odd spires of rock locally called
“stone babies” or “goblins”. Artistically, the shadows and lighting at sunrise and sunset are
exceptional. The park is well worth an overnight stay.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
     Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was established by presidential decree
in 2000, over the protests of many local ranchers and national and international coal mining
interests. It is administered by the BLM, primarily as a semi-wilderness and only a few roads
provide limited access to the monuments spectacular geology and archaeology. “Grand
Staircase” refers to a name first given by John Wesley Powell to the fabulous orange, white,
gray, and red cliffs in the western part of the monument that step down like a giant staircase
toward the south from the Paunsaugunt and Kaiparowits Plateaus to the Colorado River.
“Escalante” refers to the amazing slickrock canyons of the Escalante River drainage, named
for an early Spanish explorer, that are carved into the Navajo Sandstone exposed in the
eastern part of the monument.
     I visited several sites near Utah Highway 12 and the Burr Trail which skirt along the
northern edge of the monument. Several excellent localities along Highway 12 between
Tropic, UT and Escalante, UT expose sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous age. The Tropic
Shale (a western extension of the Mancos Shale found throughout the eastern Colorado
Plateau), outcrops near Tropic, UT; its fine, dark mud representing a highstand of the Late
Cretaceous Mancos Sea. Sandstones of the Tibbet Canyon and Smokey Hollow members of
the Late Cretaceous Straight Cliffs Formation overlie the Tropic Shale and outcrop near
Henrieville, UT, indicating retreat of the sea and deposition of coarser shoreline and river
sediments. East of Henrieville, UT, the younger John Henry and Drip Tank members of the
Straight Cliffs Formation are exposed. The John Henry overlies a regional unconformity
(indicating subaerial exposure and erosion after Smokey Hollow time). It contains
sandstones, mudstones, and thick coal deposits suggesting floodplain deposition associated
with gentle, eastward flowing streams and in expansive, coastal swamps. The Drip Tank is
composed of sandstones and thin conglomerates, representing renewed vigor of streams
flowing east from the Sevier Highlands (formed by the ongoing Sevier Orogeny to the
west) *. Also exposed east of Henrieville, UT is the Late Cretaceous Wahweap Formation.
This rock unit begins as interbedded mudstones and sandstones and ends as sandstones and
conglomerates, probably indicating low to high energy stream deposition related to yet
another episode of quiescence and then renewed uplift of the Sevier Mountains. Overlying
the Wahweap and outcropping where Highway 12 rises over the northern Kaiparowits
Plateau is the Late Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation, a sequence of interbedded sandstone,
siltstone and shale. This fine-grained material was likely deposited in low energy river
channels and floodplains.
     Grosvenor Arch, a double arch carved into a monolithic block of sandstones from the
Drip Tank member of the Straight Cliffs Formation, can be reached via the good gravel
Cottonwood Wash road that begins near Kodachrome Basin State Park. Driving a few miles
further on this road, one enters “The Squeeze”, an area of sharply tilted Jurassic to
Cretaceous sedimentary rock along the northern extension of the East Kaibab Monocline.
This monoclinal fold is another example of Colorado Plateau structures that developed
during the 65-50 million year old Laramide orogeny.
     In the Escalante-Boulder, UT area, three sites are well worth visiting. Devils Garden,
an area of goblinesque outcroppings eroded from the Entrada Sandstone, can be reached by
following the good gravel Hole-in-the-Rock road a few miles south of Escalante. Just east of
this road is 50-Mile Mountain, extensive cliffs of the resistant Straight Cliffs Formation
forming the eastern edge of the Kaiparowits Plateau. Where Highway 12 crosses the
Escalante River, a hiking trail provides easy access to the Escalante Natural Bridge** an
immense span eroded from Kayenta Formation sandstones. The trail also leads to small arch,
almost directly under which are Ancestral Puebloan ruins and Fremont Indian petroglyphs.
Just a few miles further along Highway 12 is the Calf Creek Recreation Area. A short hike
up Calf Creek canyon takes you to Lower Calf Creek Falls, a 126 foot water fall and huge
plunge pool literally forming an oasis in the desert. On the way to the falls, a spur trail leads
to a large sandstone alcove containing Fremont Indian pictographs***. The recreation area
also includes a small campground charging $7.00 for an overnight stay. Water and flush
toilets are available, but garbage must be hauled out.
     The Burr Trail, paved from its intersection with Highway 12 at Boulder, UT to the
border of Capitol Reef National Park, affords access to the Circle Cliffs upwarp. This area
exposes a sedimentary rock section from the Permian Kaibab Limestone, upward through
Triassic Moenkopi and Chinle Formations, and Jurassic Wingate Sandstone. Outstanding
exposures of the Shinarump Conglomerate member of the Chinle, the Chinle itself and
petrified trees within the Chinle highlight the area and can be reached from good gravel roads
off the Burr Trail.
     * The Sevier orogeny began and ended between 75 and 60 million years ago, its
deformation overlapping slightly with the Laramide orogeny. Sevier mountain building was
thin-skinned; sheets of sedimentary rocks in the uppermost crust were folded, faulted, and
thrust over one another to form linear mountain belts to the west of the Colorado Plateau.
The Laramide orogeny produced thick-skinned deformation, involving much deeper
Precambrian crystalline basement rock in thrusted mountain belts to the east of the Colorado
     ** Bridges and arches look very similar, but a bridge is different from an arch because
the weathering and erosion process that forms a bridge involves running water, while arch
formation does not.
     *** Pictographs were painted onto rock surfaces using fingers or a Yucca brush and
paint made of a mixture of colored mud, urine, and eggs. Petroglyphs were pecked or
scraped into rock surfaces using a sharp stone hand tool.

Henry Mountains, UT
     The Henry Mountains lie in south-central Utah, east of Capitol Reef National Park.
Their relative isolation gives them the distinction of being the last major mountain range in
the lower 48 states to be “discovered” by John Wesley Powell in 1869, named, and placed on
maps. They are geologically significant for several reasons, not least of which is their status
as the first stomping grounds of Grove Karl Gilbert, one of the fathers of U.S. geology.
Gilbert was assigned the task of studying these mountains in the 1870s by Powell, and it was
Gilbert who first developed the model for laccolithic intrusions * from these studies. The
Henry Mountains we see today are the remnants of five separate but related laccoliths,
eroded to varying degrees of exposure of the intrusive igneous rock bodies that once were
     Intrusion occurred between 31 and 23 million years ago, consistent with the ages of
magmatic intrusions in the La Sal Mountains, La Plata Mountains, Abajo Mountains,
Sleeping Ute Mountain, and Navajo Mountain to the east and south. Taken as a whole, these
ages suggest more youthful magmatic activity from east to west and may be related to the
floundering, sinking, and melting of a subducted slab of oceanic crust that had been lodged
under the North American plate during the earlier Laramide orogeny.
     The flanks of Mt. Hillers, just west of Utah Highway 276 expose several superb
geologic features related to laccolithic intrusion including: a) steeply tilted and overturned
sedimentary rocks deformed during magma emplacement; b) coarse-grained dikes and sills
composed of andesite porphyries and diorites; and c) evidence of contact metamorphosed
sedimentary rock adjacent to these intrusive bodies. Examples of these features can be
readily accessed on short hikes from nearby roads. The BLM also operates a small
campground at Starr Springs on a good gravel road along the southern flank of Mt. Hillers.
Camping fees are $4.00 per night per site; there are only vault toilets and you must haul out
your own trash, but each site has a picnic table and fire grate.
     * A laccolith is a small body of magma that intrudes into overlying sedimentary rocks,
forcing said rocks to dome upward over a mushroom-shaped sill.

Hovenweep National Monument
     Hovenweep National Monument consists of five separate units (two in Colorado and
three in Utah) that preserve exceptional Pueblo III Ancestral Puebloan ruins during the 12th
and 13th centuries AD. Each archaeological site is a community that occurs at the head of a
small canyon tributary to McElmo Creek where permanent springs and seeps are found. The
communities consist of several larger pueblo structures, including some unusual towers,
surrounded by smaller unit pueblo “farmsteads” and agricultural fields lying just above
(outside) the canyon head.
     Several unique features of these ruins make Hovenweep a “must see”. Many of the
structures are amazingly well preserved and one can actually observe the direct connection
between water needs, farming, and the “living” components of the communities. Several
structures are built in unusual locations, such as perched on boulders, leaning over cliffs, etc.
that just make the views more spectacular. And architectural features of some of the large
tower structures show cosmological alignments related to positions of the sun and moon. All
of these elements, combined with the location of these sites on the fringe of Chacoan and
Mesa Verdean influence, give one the impression of a community of monks living and
working on a windswept plain at the edge of “civilization”.
      Good access via paved and/or well-maintained gravel roads and hiking trails is
available for each unit. The monument is much less crowded than Mesa Verde National
Park. It charges a $7.00 per vehicle entrance fee and has a very nice, underutilized
campground charging $10.00 per site per night.

Museum of the San Rafael Swell (Castle Dale, UT)
      This museum is operated by Emery County in Castle Dale, UT. It contains several
excellent dinosaur skeletons from the local Morrison Formation and some nice displays of
Fremont Indian artifacts. There is also an interactive video display that runs short
“documentaries” on significant geological and cultural features of the San Rafael Swell.
Admission is free. Well worth a short visit.

Museum of Prehistory (Price, UT)
      This museum is operated by East Central Utah State University in Price, UT. It
contains two wings; one devoted to Jurassic and Cretaceous age dinosaurs found in the rock
units of the nearby San Rafael Swell and Book Cliffs, the other devoted to Pleistocene
megafauna and paleo-Indians. Skeletons and other displays discuss locally excavated
mammoths, giant sloths, sabertooth tigers, etc. and reasons for their extinction at the close of
the Ice Age. Several displays are devoted to local archaeological sites and cover the Fremont
Indian culture as expressed through pottery, basketry, stone tools, weavings, etc.
      These displays are worth seeing. They are not simply showcasing fossils and artifacts,
instead many details are described concerning environmental and cultural reconstruction.
The admission fee is $3.00 per person.

Natural Bridges National Monument
      This monument preserves three large natural bridges cut into the Permian Cedar Mesa
Sandstone which is well exposed in this area. All of the bridges are very young, geologically
speaking, probably no older than 30,000 years. They were formed by the downcutting of
streams in White Canyon and its tributary Armstrong Canyon during the Pleistocene Ice
Ages when the climate in southeastern Utah was cooler and more moist than today.
     Each bridge was formed in a similar fashion. The cool, moist Pleistocene climate likely
produced frequent large floods, accelerating erosion. Meandering of stream channels
entrenched into the Cedar Mesa Sandstone through cutbank erosion eventually lead to the
merger of two adjacent segments of a stream (or two adjacent streams). One or both streams
undercut the sandstone wall that separated them, one stream then capturing the flow of the
other via the newly created “culvert”. Kachina Bridge is the youngest and most massive, it
formed when the stream in White Canyon broke through a wall just upstream of its original
junction with Armstrong Canyon. Sipapu Bridge is older and more slender, it formed when
the stream in White Canyon cut off a meander bend. This abandoned meander is clearly
visible from the Sipapu Bridge Trail. Owachomo Bridge is the oldest and most delicate, it
formed when the stream in Tuwa Canyon (a tributary to Armstrong Canyon) twice cut
through meander bends into Armstrong Canyon. This bridge is now isolated from the main
channel because the second cutting event caused the abandonment of the part of Tuwa
Canyon’s stream that passed under the bridge. It should be noted that these bridges are
temporary features in geologic terms. There are locations in the park where older collapsed
bridges occur, as well as locations where new bridges will form in the near future. Don’t
wait around though, formation and collapse of these features is measured in mere thousands
of years.
     The monument also preserves important Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The Horse Collar
ruin is located in White Canyon between Sipapu and Kachina Bridges. This ruin is unique
because it contains two adjoining cooking ovens shaped like a pair of horse collars (for a
stagecoach or wagon). The Shoe ruin and petroglyphs are located in Armstrong Canyon
between its downstream juncture with White Canyon and Owachomo Bridge. The ruins here
are a single sandstone block dwelling and a large rock art panel nearby.
     All three bridges and both puebloan ruins can be reached via an 8-mile loop trail that is
well worth the effort to hike. For the less adventurous, a paved loop drive takes you to
overlooks of each bridge and the Horse Collar ruin. Camping is available for $10.00 per site
per night, but there are very few sites.
Petroglyphs near Castle Dale, UT
      I visited several rock art panels along Buckhorn Wash, Dry Wash, and Rochester
Creek. All of these sites had easy access via well-maintained gravel roads. Emery County,
in which all of these sites were located, also publishes for free, a short magazine with
instructions for reaching these localities, among other interesting features.
      Buckhorn Wash contains three rock art sites. Two are relatively small, generally
displaying petroglyphs of various hunting scenes, animals common the area and important to
the artists, and anthropomorphs (human-like figures), either singly or in “daisy chains” drawn
by Fremont Indians. The third site is much larger and temporally complex. It contains
abundant pictographs as well as some petroglyphs. The pictographs are singular or “daisy-
chained” anthropomorphs drawn by an older, Archaic Indian people. The petroglyphs are a
combination of prehistoric Fremont and historic Ute Indian symbols. Dry Wash contains one
accessible petroglyph site near the road. Two large boulders at this location are covered with
glyphs, including several large snakes (one is almost 10 feet long). The Rochester Creek
rock art panel is world-renowned. A short trail takes you to a rocky promontory overlooking
the confluence of Rochester Creek and a side canyon. On the promontory is a large
petroglyph panel measuring about 10 feet across and five feet high, covered in glyphs of
easily identified animals, hunting scenes, anthropomorphs, and several large, demi-animals
(spirit animals) with no obvious earthly counterpart. One other smaller panel occurs near the
first within a large fracture. Both panels are unusual in that they contain depictions of sexual
intercourse. Again, the artists obviously draw what is important to them (food, religion, sex,
among other things) and that is what makes pictographs and petroglyphs so important.
Neither the Archaic Indians nor their descendents, the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont
Indians (or the later Ute Indians) had a written language, so these drawings are vital to
interpreting their lifeways.

Sego Canyon Rock Art Site (Thompson Springs, UT)
      This is a well-known rock art site located just below the confluence of Sego Canyon
and Thompson Wash. Four panels contain both pictographs and petroglyphs of Archaic,
Fremont, and Ute Indian origin. The largest panel at the site displays many large
pictographic anthropomorphs drawn in various shades of red by Archaic Indians. They
possess a ghostly or alien appearance and are accompanied by spirit helper animals,
characteristics that are typical of this culture. Another petroglyph panel contains broad-
shouldered, and tapered bodied anthropomorphs typical of the Fremont culture. Still
another panel contains essentially painted petroglyphs and is apparently historic Ute
Indian in origin. The panel shows horses (definitely post-Spanish influence), bison,
anthropomorphs, and decorated shields.
      The site is administered by the BLM, just off interstate 70, and easily reached by a
good gravel road passing through Thompson Springs, UT.

St. George, UT area
      St. George, UT lies within the transition zone between the Colorado Plateau to the east
and the Basin and Range to the west, and displays many geological features identified with
both regions. The Hurricane Fault Zone (one of several north-south trending normal faults
that bound the western edge of the Colorado Plateau) is well exposed near here. There are
also several Holocene age lava flows and cinder cones within the city limits via Bluff Rd.
and Snow Canyon (with spectacular geology in its own right). Just southwest of town,
exposures in the floodplain-deposited sandstones and siltstones of the Jurassic age Moenave
Formation (equivalent to the Moenkopi Formation farther northeast), display dinosaur tracks
(of at least two species).
      Several excellent Ancestral Puebloan petroglyph sites also occur within easy driving
distance of St. George: 1) the Parowan Gap site, within an ancient stream valley cut through
an uplifted hogback west of Parowan, UT; 2) the Fort Pearce petroglyph site, near the old
Mormon stone fort by that name; and 3) the Little Black Mountain petroglyph site on the
southwest face of a cliff formed in the Moenave Formation near St George. Of these sites,
the Little Black Mountain locality contains the most diverse and best preserved glyphs. A
majority of the petroglyphs here probably have religious ceremonial and/or seasonal/calendar
meaning. The isolation of the site lends itself to secret ritual acts and vision quests. The
snake, mountain sheep, and hand print glyphs are commonly associated with sacred sites,
whereas seasonal glyphs are placed to use the interplay between light and shadow to signify
seasonal change.
Zion National Park
        I paid only a brief visit to the main Virgin River Canyon unit of Zion National Park on
my way to Bryce Canyon (the Kolob Canyons unit lies a considerable distance away by road
in the wrong direction). I traveled the only road (Utah Highway 9) through the park open the
passenger vehicles. I wanted to learn about the new experimental shuttle bus system recently
installed in the park. Essentially, visitors must park at the visitor center (or campgrounds)
and ride to the various trailheads after having paid a $10.00 per person entrance fee. The
purpose of the buses is to reduce traffic congestion, noise, and air pollution in the park. I
cannot see that this system would adversely affect a future trip with accompanying students.
        What I did see of Zion along Highway 9 encourages me to explore further. The road
snakes its way through immense domes carved into the top layers of the Navajo Sandstone, a
thick sequence of massively cross-bedded sandstone deposited in a Jurassic age desert. This
desert system rivaled the modern Sahara, covering much of western North America at the
        Zion has an extensive system of hiking trails and excellent camping facilities that cost
$10.00 per site per night.

Disposition of the Project
        Now that I have arrived back in Hanover, IN and I have had some time to reflect upon
my observations, I believe that I have the information necessary to develop an outstanding
May Term Off-campus Experience course. Should it become possible, I believe this course
could be developed into an excellent Natural World LADR course as well. I am tentatively
entitling my course The Colorado Plateau: Environments and Cultures and it will focus on
the geologic features and the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont Indian cultures of the Four
Corners region. Currently, I am working on two power point presentations based on my
research. These presentations will serve as introductions to the geology and archaeology of
the Colorado Plateau respectively, and will appear at upcoming Faculty Symposia and likely
in an abbreviated form on the Geology Department website to serve as future PR for the
        The format of the geology presentation will follow a broad historical timeline, while the
archaeology presentation will focus on key elements of Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont
Indian cultural development, rather than formats that alphabetically or geographically list
various localities (as this report has done). Their collective purpose is to illustrate the
diversity of cultural, archaeological, and geological features in the region, and to provide a
general understanding for how science works from observation to inference and model
     The course itself will be designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore the
nature and purpose of the sciences as they apply to the disciplines of archaeology and
geology. A primary intent is to duplicate material that students would normally learn in
introductory archaeology and physical geology courses, but our textbook and laboratory
exercises will be the natural physical and cultural features of our surroundings. I hope that
students will gain some insight into actually doing field research, by not only learning the
archaeology and geology subject to the course, but by “living the life” of a field scientist for
a short time. Ultimately, my students will acquire the basic knowledge and vocabulary used
to read and understand archaeological and geological reports, make direct observations of
cultural resources and about the earth’s composition, structure, and the physical and chemical
processes that shape it, and be able to apply what they have learned to developing sound
conceptual models of ancient Native American cultures and the geological components of the
earth system.
     The primary objectives of this course are threefold: 1) to develop the skills necessary to
accurately observe and measure the features associated with a particular archaeological or
geological setting, 2) infer connections between observed phenomena and their origins or
modes of formation, and 3) to develop a student’s ability to “model” the relationships
between the features they are studying. My students will utilize standard tools and field
techniques to explore the surficial deposits and landforms, bedrock outcrops (including
mineralogy, fossil content and other features), rock structures, and the geological processes
and environments associated with formation of these features. And students will learn to
make accurate sketches and field notes of the artifacts and architectural elements remaining
at archaeological sites. Ultimately, my goal is to see that students can place the
archaeological and geological features of each park into a larger regional framework. It is
critical that they understand shared linkages between the characteristics of local settings and
their relationship to large-scale anthropological controls such as a changing physical
environment, internal and external exchange of ideas and resources, population growth, etc.,
and geological controls such as plate tectonic movements and mountain building events.
      To accomplish these objectives, each planned stop on the trip itinerary will begin with a
brief lecture on the cultural and/or geological setting and a brief introduction to any features
unique to that area, and it will end with a review discussion of what we have observed and
how it fits into a broader context. Students will likely have specific group “assignments”
(i.e., specific tasks or goals that I want them to fulfill) for each day, but there will also be
ample room for unexpected or impromptu discoveries.
      I believe Hanover College students would benefit immeasurably from this course. The
knowledge and skills they gain from a “hands-on” learning experience such as this are likely
to remain with them long after the course is over, unlike comparable lecture-based courses.
This course is likely to facilitate their ability to make observations and assess a body of
information, practical skills in any discipline, not just the sciences. Hopefully students will
come away from this course having developed a better understanding of the characteristics
and processes operating within both human cultural systems and natural geological systems;
and hopefully they will have developed a greater appreciation for Native American cultures
and for their natural surroundings. Lastly, I firmly believe the value of exposure to the
unique natural, cultural, and historical attributes of the Colorado Plateau, combine with the
special group dynamics a course such as this can offer (the new friendships made, and the
stories to tell), cannot be underestimated.

Please refer to diagrams sent in hard-copy form to your respective campus mail boxes.

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