Crystal Geyser, Green River, Grand County, Utah.
Photographer: Taylor Boden

Colorful travertine (calcium carbonate) is deposited around cold-water, carbon-dioxide-driven Crystal Geyser.

Bureau of Land Management has rescheduled the presentation “Microbes, Mars & Moqui Marbles” on Tuesday, July 16. The program is a special Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) Walks and Talks Lecture Series presentation to be held at the BLM Kanab Visitor Center, located at 745 East Hwy 89, in Kanab, Utah.

Beginning at 7 p.m., Dr. David Loope will reveal new insights into how microbes affect geology. Based on his recent research on the Navajo Sandstone within GSENM, Dr. Loope will explain how microbes, that have lived just below Earth’s surface for at least three billion years play an important part in the development of Moqui Marbles on Earth, as well as other planets, including Mars.



You wouldn’t know it from experience, but the Wasatch Front is one of the most seismically at risk areas in Utah and in the Intermountain West. Scientists are looking at thousands of years of earthquake history to learn more about the hazard we face. Kim Schuske has this story.



Early explorers and pioneers often found precisely the right words to describe land formations as they named features they encountered while trekking west.

On July 27, 1850, for example, Robert Chalmers led a group of about 300 gold miners headed to California across the Bonneville Salt Flats using the Hastings Cutoff. Seeing a mountain range devoid of perennial streams and with sparse vegetation, he called them the Barren Mountains.


Dixie National Forest, Kane County, Utah
Photographer: Tyler Knudsen

Golden aspen, blue sky, and dark basaltic lava provide dramatic contrast along the Navajo Lake Loop Trail on the Markagunt Plateau. The geologically young Quaternaryage lava erupted from a nearby cinder cone and flowed across Duck Creek, creating a natural dam that formed Navajo Lake.

An Estonia company that claims it has perfected turning oil shale into fuel oil during the past 30 years wants to mine rock from a remote region of the Uintah Basin, tapping 2.6 billion barrels of oil in the decades to come.

That staggering production, 50,000 barrels of oil per day, would represent one-third of Utah’s liquid fuel consumption and is touted to emerge from a processing and refining plant that would put power back into the energy grid.


Geologic intervals that may have looked a bit ho-hum when pierced by the drill bit on its way to the Real Target can, on second look, yield some pleasant surprises.

The Uteland Butte Member of the Eocene Green River Formation in the Uinta Basin in Utah is one of these.

It’s the basal member of the Green River, above the Upper Paleocene to Lower Eocene Wasatch Formation, which is predominantly a sandstone with red, green and gray shales deposited in a fluvial setting.

In contrast, the Uteland Butte is indicative of a lacustrine environment and is mainly limestone, dolomite, organic rich calcareous mudstone and siltstone, with some thin sandstones, according to AAPG member Michael Vanden Berg.




Navajo Indian Reservation, San Juan County, Utah
Photographer: Phil Powlick

The wind has formed ripples on the surface of a dune in Monument Valley along the Utah-Arizona border.

Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, Washington County, Utah
Photographer: Michael Vanden Berg

Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone forms the massive red cliffs of the often-overlooked Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park. Hanging valleys are present where relatively small tributary streams have eroded downward at a slower rate than the larger trunk stream.

Core Workshop: Microbial Carbonate Reservoirs from Utah

Field Trip: Modern and Ancient Microbial Carbonates in Utah—Examples from Great Salt Lake and the Uinta Basin’s Tertiary (Eocene)  Green River Formation

To register for either the short course, field trip, or both, go online at: RMSAAPG2013.COM and look for short course #4 and field trip #5.

Details are listed below:

Short Course #4: Microbial Carbonate Reservoirs from Utah – Core Workshop

Wednesday, September 25, 8:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. at the Utah Geological Survey’s Core Research Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

David E. Eby, Eby Petrography & Consulting, Inc.; Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr., Utah Geological Survey; Michael D. Vanden Berg, Utah Geological Survey

$200 for professionals, $100 for students (includes lunch, refreshments, and course notes)

30 professionals, 5 students
Post-Convention Field Trip #5: Modern and Ancient Microbial Carbonates in Utah: Examples from Great Salt Lake and the Uinta Basin’s Tertiary (Eocene) Green River Formation

Thursday, September 26 – Saturday, September 28

David E. Eby (Eby Petrography & Consulting, Inc.), Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr. (Utah Geological Survey), Michael D. Vanden Berg, Utah Geological Survey

Departs from the Hilton in Salt Lake City, Utah, at 8:00 A.M. on Thursday, September 26, and returns to the same venue or the Salt Lake International Airport by approximately 11:00 A.M., Saturday, September 28

$700 per person.  Includes transportation, lunches, refreshments, two nights lodging (double occupancy), and field guide.

24 persons