Tag Archive for: Emery County

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.

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

Certain rock types weather into curious shapes and patterns by combinations of internal factors such as fractures and sediment grain size and external factors such as frost action and salt crystallization. Sandstone, granite, volcanic rocks, and limestone are all excellent mediums for creating bizarre rockscapes that can include smooth, rounded, and undulating forms (hoodoos or “goblins”), pinnacles, tafoni (holes and small alcoves), and honeycomb structures.

Where horizontal bedding, alternating hard and soft rock layers, and vertical fractures combine, the Entrada Sandstone weathers into rounded, columnar “goblins”.

This photo was submitted to us by Dennis Udink. You can see the Henry Mountains viewed through Summerville Formation hills near the Little Wild Horse road (Goblin Valley area in Emery county).

The Henry Mountains were formed around 31 to 25 million years ago when partially molten rock, from the Earth’s interior, forced its way into overlying sedimentary rocks forming huge domes called laccoliths. Subsequent erosion has exposed the igneous rocks which make up the high peaks of the mountains. Mt Ellen is one of Utah’s highest peaks (outside the Uinta Mountains) at 11,522ft.  The domed and arched sedimentary rocks form the flanks of the range.

One of the more notable inhabitants of the range are the Henry Mountains Bison Herd, which wildlife scientists believe to be only one of four free-roaming, genetically pure bison herds in North America.

Great photo Dennis! Remember, you can always submit photos to the Utah Geological Survey at ugssmedia@gmail.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

This photo was submitted to us by Mike McCandless of Emery County. The San Rafael Swell is an eroded anticline approximately 600,000 acres in size inside the Colorado Plateau contained entirely in Emery County. The Swell exposes many different types of colorful sedimentary rocks that have been eroded into beautiful valleys, canyons, gorges, mesas and buttes. Great photo Mike!

Remember, you can always send us your favorite photos at ugssmedia@gmail.com, here on Facebook, or Twitter!

San Rafael Swell, Emery County, Utah
Photographer: Taylor Boden

Boulders of Cretaceous-age Ferron Sandstone, eroded from the top of a distant butte, have come to rest on the Cretaceous-age Mancos
Shale on the west flank of the San Rafael Swell.

San Rafael Reef, Emery County, Utah
Photographer: Tom Chidsey

The steeply dipping east flank of the San Rafael Swell is part of a large fold that formed in Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary time.





Head of Sinbad, San Rafael Swell, Emery County
Photographer: J. Buck Ehler

Dutchman Arch guards the path to Devil’s Racetrack, a popular recreation trail in the San Rafael Swell. Named after a local Dutch cattleman, the arch is composed of the Jurassic-age Wingate Sandstone deposited in ancient sand dunes.


When some people think of electricity, it conjures up the image of Founding Father Ben Franklin flying a kite in the rain.

In today’s world, harnessing electricity is as easy as plugging into a wall outlet in a home or apartment — and you don’t have the danger of being hurt by a lightning bolt.

But where does that power come from?

According to students in Kim Rees’ fifth-grade class at the Waterford School in Sandy, the sources vary.

“It comes from the Lake Powell generators,” student Sean Frommelt said. “(The water) turns the big generators.”

“(Turbines) go around really, really fast, which creates electricity,” 11-year old Zach Abrams explained.

Natilyn Gunnell noted that electricity comes from the sun using solar panels. Hunter Sullivan said the wind is also a source of energy generation.

Not bad for a class of 10- and 11-year-olds.