Posted by: paulgarner | July 15, 2010

Capitol Reef National Park

Today we were in the vicinity of Capitol Reef National Park to examine more Permian sandstones. Unfortunately, our attempts to access the section we’d hoped to study in the Fremont River valley proved to be fruitless, because of the terrain and distances involved. We wanted to access the rocks there because the outcrops were located outside the park boundaries and we could have collected samples. Eventually we decided to take a look at a section within the park. We hiked from Chimney Rock down into the Sulphur Creek goosenecks and, having passed through the Triassic Moenkopi Formation we reached the Permian White Rim Sandstone. Although we weren’t able to collect, we did take lots of photographs and made plenty of observations. After hiking out we ate dinner at a nearby restaurant and then drove on to Escalante, stopping at intervals to collect samples of the Navajo Sandstone along the highway. Although the Navajo isn’t Permian in age, it is another well known ‘eolian’ deposit and it’s good to have samples for comparative purposes.

One final thing: encounters with rattlesnakes are always a hazard of fieldwork in these parts and to prove it here’s a photograph of one that John Whitmore almost stood on today when stepping over a rock.

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