This evening we arrived in Blanding, Utah, having made the drive from Vernal with various stops along the way. Our first stop was along US 191 between Duchesne and Helper where we encountered the Eocene Green River Formation once again. We also had time to examine the turbidite sandstones and coals of the Cretaceous Mesa Verde Formation. The turbidites displayed some nice sole markings, and the close association of the coals with turbidites was intriguing.
Further along US 191 we were able to observe the San Rafael Swell, where the rocks have been warped into an enormous dome, now breached by erosion. A massive amount of erosion must have taken place after the global Flood and our discussion focused on the main factors that might have contributed to it. Some creationists, such as Mike Oard, have argued that this erosion must have been associated with the retreating Flood waters – see, for example, pages 102-103 of this paper; figures 3 and 4 are actually localities we visited today – thus necessitating placement of the Flood/post-Flood boundary very high in the Cenozoic. Although I think that’s questionable on a number of grounds, Mike has nevertheless identified a significant problem that requires further investigation.
Our final detour was a drive through Arches National Park, stopping at such famous landmarks as the Three Gossips and Balanced Rock. The scenery in the park is truly awe-inspiring and I’m glad we were able to include it in our itinerary. The temperatures were in the low 100s, but, as you can see from the photo, there was an opportunity to catch forty winks in the relative cool of the Double Arch! It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
Tomorrow we’ll be back on the track of Permian sandstones…