Field Work

Here is some of my most recent field work as a photo journal. Enjoy!

Canyonlands National Park, Utah | 2019

I became interested in Canyonlands National Park after perusing Google Earth one day looking at the Grabens region. I spotted some strange sinkhole looking features and was curious if they could be tectonically related. The alternative would be that they are purely a function of the Grabens creating a series of closed drainage basins cutting off stream flow northwards to the Colorado River. The closed basins would have to drain all rainfall through the alluvium and into the subsurface. This water would eventually come into contact with the Paradox salt sheet at depth (which is also controlling the development of the Grabens). The unique scenarios in which these pits could form led me to want to see them in person. Immediately below is the figure I submitted for the Geological Society of America Graduate Student Grant. In that map I used the National Elevation Database 5m/pixel topographic data to extract expected stream flow paths. The results of that show that some of these pits are outside of the expected stream flow paths, indicating that those pits might be tectonically controlled. My GSA grant was selected (very thankful for the GSA to support my work), and Zach Williams, a M.S. student in the PRG lab, and I went to Utah in October 2019.

Driving North through Devil’s Lane inside of the National Park.

The great campsite we had on the edge of Cross Canyon and Imperial Valley on BLM land. All of our field sites were just outside of the Canyonlands National Park boundaries.

Within Cross Canyon, our first site was the most impressive and had the largest pit craters. Here is a great example of a large pit within the alluvium/aeolian sediments. Just behind where I was taking the photo is the graben wall on the north side.

The graben wall of imperial valley at the cross Canyon intersection on the northeast side. We were surprised that we didn’t find more evidence of the fault or fault zone. No significant fault gouge was found in float surrounding the graben wall, either.

A cool BLM cadastral survey marker from 1957 we found in the middle of Cross Canyon. Always interesting to find some evidence of other humans out in the middle of nowhere!