Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Box Elder County, Utah.
Photographer: Ken Krahulec

The 1500-foot-long Spiral Jetty, built in 1970 of black Tertiary-age basalt, is the  principal earthwork of the  prominent American sculptor Robert Smithson.

San Rafael Swell, Sevier County
Photographer: Robert F. Biek

Alluvial and wind-blown sediment partly conceals the Jurassic-age Entrada Sandstone in the Last Chance Desert, which occupies the axis of the Last Chance anticline. The narrow, jagged, black ridge at the center of the photo is a basaltic dike of probable late Tertiary age (3 to 5 million years old) that intrudes the Entrada Sandstone.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Garfield County, Utah
Photographer: William Lund

The Pink Cliffs (Eocene-age Claron Formation) form the uppermost step of southwestern Utah’s spectacular Grand Staircase.











A little more than a year ago, in the corner of a Salt Lake City tattoo parlor spattered with sci-fi ephemera and fantasy art, I watched as artist Jon McAffee inked an Allosaurus onto my arm. The bloody art was a celebration of a dream realized and a promise to myself.
The giant, sauropod-rending theropod Allosaurus is the state fossil of Utah, and a symbol of why I transplanted myself to the state. I moved west for the dinosaurs. But the tattoo represents more than that. I’m not content only writing about dinosaurs. I need to seek them out; to dig them from their resting places and contribute something to our understanding of prehistory. Allosaurus – the most common terror of 150 million year old Utah – was at the top of the list of the dinosaurs I wanted to meet among the badlands.



A massive rockslide closed part of Dinosaur National Monument.

The National Park Service says the slide is still active and rocks have been falling since Tuesday.

NPS says that on Tuesday, fishermen reported large boulders falling in the area. Park rangers investigated, but found no further activity.




Arches National Park, Grand County
Photographer: William Lund

Delicate Arch is formed of Jurassic-age sandstone—the Slick Rock Member of the Entrada Sandstone (base and pedestals) and Moab Member of the Curtis Formation (bridge). With a horizontal span of 32 feet and a vertical span of 46 feet, Delicate Arch is small compared to many other natural arches, but its free-standing nature makes it unique in the world and emblematic of Utah’s spectacular red-rock geology.

Big Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch Range, Salt Lake County
Photographer: Liz Paton

On the east slope of Mt. Millicent (10,452 feet), Lake Mary occupies part of a basin carved by Ice Age glaciers. The surrounding peaks are composed of granitic rock of the Tertiary-age Alta stock.

Bakken Breakout

From the highway, Utah’s Uinta Basin has some striking similarities to oil producing areas in North Dakota – namely, there’s an abundance of new oil wells.

The evening view from a hill called Blue Bench is evidence. Lights from oil rigs and wells are scattered across an uneven topography. Once, that land seemed empty of everything but juniper tress, sage brush and sandstone.



A glacial end (terminal) moraine in Pine Creek Valley, Wasatch Mountain State Park.

This Saturday Utah Geological Survey geologist Jim Davis and Utah State Parks naturalist Kathy Donnell led a leisurely hike up to Wilson Peak in Wasatch Mountain State Park for Utah State University students enrolled in the course “Utah Master Naturalist.”  The Utah Master Naturalist Program is a three credit certification course open to anyone who is interested in learning more about Utah’s natural world.  The topics for the Wilson Peak hike, part of the “mountains” section of the course, included the Wasatch Mountain’s geologic history, alpine glaciation and glacial landforms, the ice ages, and identification of rocks such as the Tertiary Pine Creek and Valeo volcanic stocks that are granodiorites, the Cambrian Tintic Quartzite, and the Precambrian Mineral Fork Tillite.

Utah Master Naturalist Program, Utah State University