Colorful rocks extend across wide swaths of the Southwest, showcased in sedimentary rock formations in Zion, Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and other national and state parks. There is an interesting story behind the spectacular bedrock “palette” of rich shades of pink and red, purple and creamy white, and yellow and green tones.
Iron-oxide concretions – curious-looking dark spheres – can be found by the hundreds of thousands in the dramatic red and white outcrops of Navajo Sandstone in Utah. The concretions typically consist of a sandstone core surrounded by a thick iron-rich rind, and they have an interesting geologic history and Native American cultural history. They also resemble Martian spherules or "blueberries", and may share similar origins.
Traveling to explore new landscapes–and returning to favorite ones–will be one of many joys gradually reopening to us after the months of just-stay-at-home guidelines. This winter I’ve been planning future road trips in California and beyond, and I can recommend some great books about the geology in the western states.
Some of us really like the mineral quartz – and for excellent reasons. Quartz is a major building block of my favorite landscapes, found in the granitic rocks forming the Andes Mountains and the Sierra Nevada; the sandy beaches along the California coast; the vast sand dunes of Death Valley and the Sahara Desert, and the Red Rock geologic units in Arches, Capital Reef, Zion.....
Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and other national parks on the Colorado Plateau encompass some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth. Extending across the Four Corners region where the borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet...the landscape is sculpted into dramatic cliffs and arches, domes and towers, fins and hoodoos, mesas and buttes, slot canyons, and deeply carved canyons.