View east from Jackson Bottom along the Colorado River, Grand County.
Photographer: Brian Butler © 2017

Goblin Valley State Park

Photographer: Michael Vanden Berg © 2017

Early morning sun casts shadows on “goblins” formed within the Entrada Sandstone, which consists of sediment deposited 160 million years ago in tidal flats and coastal dunes. Erosion forms the goblins, leaving resistant sandstone boulders perched atop softer siltstone and shale layers that erode more quickly.

Arches National Park, Grand County
Photographer: Gregg Beukelman © 2017

Defying gravity, an estimated 3500-ton sandstone boulder of Jurassic-age Entrada Formation perches atop a pedestal of less resistant sandstone of the Dewey Bridge Member of the Carmel Formation and forms Balanced Rock at Arches National Park. Snow-capped peaks in the background are the La Sal Mountains, a Tertiary-age laccolith.

The 2016 UGS Employee of the Year award was presented to Mark Milligan. Mark is a model employee with a strong work ethic and friendly personality that endears him to co-workers and the public he often interacts with. He handles an enormous number of public inquires that require patience, persistence, and a broad understanding of Utah geology. He has authored numerous popular UGS publications and contributed many informative articles to Survey Notes, and he can always be counted on to do an excellent and thorough job on any assigned task. Mark is an outstanding role model, and is a deserving recipient of the UGS Employee of the Year award.

Thor’s Hammer, Bryce Canyon National State Park

Photographer: Grant Willis © 2017

Thor’s Hammer, named for the Norse God of Thunder who controlled the air and storms, is probably the best-known hoodoo in Bryce Canyon National Park, and is also the icon for the Utah Geological Survey logo. It formed as the result of differential weathering of sandstone and siltstone layers in the Claron Formation, with the softer layers weathering and eroding faster than the harder layers. The retreating escarpment that forms Bryce Canyon owes its existence to the Paunsaugunt fault, which elevated Powell Point in the distance, and which also “sank” the Sinking Ship in middle distance.

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers took note of the desolate beauty that surrounds the Spiral Jetty as they considered designating the artificial formation to be the official state work of art.