Dinosaurs were significant tourists, back in the day. Some enjoyed the area so much, they decided to stay. A few of them were even known to throw their weight around! The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) has provided a treasure trove of dinosaur discoveries. Of the 39 new dinosaur discoveries worldwide, nine have come from the GSENM!





Mesas, buttes, and canyons in the east-central area of the San Rafael Swell, Emery County, Utah.
Photographer: Tom Chidsey

Today’s photo comes from our Facebook user Dustin Garrett along with a question he asked some months ago. “Kodachrome Basin Lightning Strike – Is that indeed, what the lines are?”  The lightning-shaped mineral veins are, sadly, not the result of actual  lightning. They are most likely gypsum veins, which would have formed in the surrounding rock long before erosion exposed them. While fascinating in their own right, real lightning might have been a little cooler. Thanks for the question Dustin!

As an interesting side note, Kodachrome Flat was named so by the National Geographic Society in 1948 after the new brand of Kodak film which was used to photograph the area. A few years after the area became a state park in 1962 the name was changed to Kodachrome Basin with permission from Kodak.

Remember, you can submit photos and ask questions anytime on our blog, Facebook, or on Twitter. It is the job of the UGS to disseminate accurate geologic knowledge to you our followers!

Photographer: Dustin Garrett

The La Sal Mountains viewed through Mesa Arch in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, San Juan County, Utah
Photographer: Taylor Boden

Mount Magog (9,750 feet) and White Pine Lake, Cache National Forest, Cache County, Utah
Photographer: Ken Krahulec

“Prowling Coyote” in Fantasy Canyon, Uintah County, Utah
Photographer: Jim Davis

Goosenecks State Park, San Juan County, Utah
Photographer: Bill Lund

Deeply incised meanders form the goosenecks of the San Juan River at Goosenecks State Park, San Juan County.


The paleo-tectonic maps of retired geologist Ronald Blakey are mesmerizing and impossible to forget once you’ve seen them. Catalogued on his website Colorado Plateau Geosystems, these maps show the world adrift, its landscapes breaking apart and reconnecting again in entirely new forms, where continents are as temporary as the island chains that regularly smash together to create them, on a timescale where even oceans that exist for tens of millions of years can disappear leaving only the subtlest of geological traces.





Until recently, Bob Smith had never witnessed two simultaneous earthquake swarms in his 53 years of monitoring seismic activity in and around the Yellowstone Caldera.

Now, Smith, a University of Utah geophysics professor, has seen three swarms at once.




Goblin Valley State Park, Emery County, Utah
Photographer: Keith Beisner

At Goblin Valley State Park on the southeast side of the San Rafael Swell, morning sun gives Wild Horse Butte an ethereal glow. The butte exposes all four geologic units present in the park: the Entrada Sandstone and Curtis, Summerville, and Morrison Formations. These strata record profound changes in Utah’s geography during Middle and Late Jurassic time, including the existence of coastal sand dunes, inundation by a shallow inland sea, and then uplift, erosion, and sediment deposition in stream channels and flood plains.