Goblins lurk in a remote corner of Utah. They aren’t the Halloween type! Instead, they are unique, curiously shaped rocks, found by the thousands in Goblin Valley State Park. They are in columns or pillars formed by layers of rock with differing resistance to weathering, called hoodoos, and they have an interesting geologic history.
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.
Towering cliffs, plateaus, arches, and narrow canyons are iconic symbols of southern Utah’s Red Rock Country. Another type of landform captured my attention during recent explorations: mile after mile of gently rolling rock-covered terrain, giving the impression of being surrounded by an ocean of sandstone. An arid sand sea of shifting dunes created these rocks many millions of years ago.
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.....
Hundreds of years before the Inca Empire rose to fame and glory, the Tiwanaku culture flourished in cold and thin air in the Andes Mountains....Collecting and transporting heavy stone blocks from distant quarries were among the many impressive accomplishments of the Tiwanaku people.
Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, the iconic giant sandstone mound in Australia that rises abruptly out of an expanse of flat desert, has always intrigued me. For thousands of years the indigenous Australians have considered Uluru a sacred site, and it is the focus of numerous myths and legends. I understand that mythic attraction – and the geologic history is just as captivating.
A curious fact: Arabian Peninsula countries import tremendous amounts of sand. There is no shortage of this material in the Arabian Desert – beautiful quartz grains that have blown around for eons and are now [...]
We are fortunate to have numerous spectacular National Parks in the western US. I have had the pleasure of wandering through many of them, but recently I've also started to explore State Parks. In September [...]