Survey Notes v.48 no.1, January 2016

The latest Survey Notes is here!

Survey Notes v.48 no.1, January 2016

Our latest issue of Survey Notes is here! Find articles on the new Ogden 30′ x 60′ geological map, the Markagunt Gravity Slide, and more among our regular feature columns.


Check out past issues of Survey Notes too!

Looking for somewhere fun to go in Utah this weekend?

Looking for somewhere fun to go in Utah this weekend? You don’t even have to leave home! Check out our GeoSights virtual tour page to find some of Utah’s coolest places!


Survey Notes volume 26 number 3

Current Issue Contents:

• The Uinta Mountains: A Tale of Two Geographies
• In Memoriam: Lehi F. Hintze
• Students Fill the GIS Gap
• The 2014 Crawford Award
• GeoSights: Roosevelt Hot Springs Geothermal Area, Beaver County
• New Publications
• Teacher’s Corner
• Core Center News
• Glad You Asked: What are keeper potholes & how are they formed?




GeoSights—The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, San Juan County, Utah

What in the world is a gooseneck? When it comes to describing a landform, fowl play (pun intended) may seem apparent. Even when you are standing in front of one, the answer is not obvious. Not until you get a look from above does this name start to make sense.


Survey Notes volume 46 number 1

Current Issue Contents:

  • Microbial Carbonate Reservoirs and the Utah Geological Survey’s “Invasion” of London
  • Utah Still Supplying Gilsonite to the World After 125 Years
  • Frack Sand in Utah?
  • Energy News
  • GeoSights: St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson’s Farm, Washington County
  • Glad You Asked: How can sedimentary rocks tell you about Utah’s history?
  • Teacher’s Corner
  • Survey News
  • New Publications



GeoSights—Comb Ridge, San Juan County, Utah

One may say Comb Ridge was Mother Nature’s way of splitting southern San Juan County with an enormous
wall. Another may say it was a giant skateboard ramp for dinosaurs. One thing is certain: Comb Ridge is a spectacular
ridge of steeply tilted sandstone rock layers, trending north-south for approximately 80 miles from Utah’s Abajo Mountains to Kayenta, Arizona. Similar to a rooster’s comb, the jagged appearance of Comb Ridge provides the logic behind its name.

GeoSights—Gandy Warm Springs, Northwestern Millard County, Utah

The entrance to a cave, unofficially called “Beware Cave,” is marked by an overhang under which springs emerge at the deepest part of Gandy Warm Springs and Warm Creek—almost 4 feet deep. Gandy Warm Springs is a refreshing oasis of tiny waterfalls, pools, caves, and crystal clear streams with water temperatures up to 81 ̊F. Located on the western edge of Snake Valley, near the Nevada border, the springs are at the base of the southern tip of Spring Mountain (also called Gandy Mountain). The spring water that cascades down the slope of Spring Mountain joins a larger spring that emerges from a cave, initiating the eastward-flowing Warm Creek (also called Gandy Creek). Lush green vegetation,  including mosses, watercress, and bright green algae, and animals such as aquatic snails (including the endemic springsnail,Pyrgulopsis saxatilis, found only at Gandy) and the native speckled dace wonderfully stand in stark  contrast to the surrounding dry yellow grasses and desert shrubs. Gandy is a popular spot for locals who use the area for soaking, swimming, and baptisms.

GeoSights—Notch Peak—Big Cliff, Millard County, Utah

The enormity and vastness of the cliff forming the north face of Notch Peak is difficult to describe. Standing near the cliff’s base and looking up is awe inspiring. The view while standing at the top and looking over the edge? I would not know as I was on my hands and knees, too fearful to stand and look over the edge at one of the greatest vertical drops in the contiguous U.S.
Reported estimates of the cliff’s actual height vary significantly from under 2,000 feet to over 4,500 feet, which is likely due to differences in defining where the base of the cliff starts. Photogrammetry (measurements from digital stereoscopic photographs), verified with a paper 7.5′ topographic map, suggests the cliff has an uninterrupted near-vertical drop of over 1,500feet. The addition of cliff below a small bench 50 to 100 yards wide increases the distance to approximately 2,250 feet. Adding a portion of the very steep base of the sheer drop  increases the distance to nearly 2,900 feet.

GeoSights—The Witches, Summit County, Utah

Near the town of Echo in northern Utah is a cluster of reddish-brown natural monuments called The Witches (also known as Witch Rocks, Witches Rocks, Witch Bluffs, or Witches Bluffs), composed of the Echo Canyon Conglomerate.

In 1858, army Captain Albert Tracy described them in his journal as “witch-like” and “so singularly like figures in kirtles [long skirts] and steeple-hats, or bonnets that they have received the appellation [Witch Rocks]”. By using your imagination (and perhaps squinting a bit), you can picture a coven of witches in long robes and witches’ hats standing on the hillside.

Nearby Echo Canyon has long been used as a main thoroughfare between southern Wyoming and northern Utah, first by Native Americans, fur trappers, and explorers, then by wagon trains on their way to Salt Lake City or other points west. Before the interstate highway, passengers on the Overland Stage and then the Union Pacific Railroad also made their way through the canyon.

At the town of Echo, the canyon opens into the Henefer Valley where most of these travelers rested and marveled at the unusual rock formations, some even drawing sketches or taking photographs of The Witches.


GeoSights—Devils Kitchen, Juab County, Utah

Geologic Information: The Devil seems to have inspired many geographic place names. According to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, 34 geographic features bear the name Devils Kitchen, and three of them are found in Utah. The Devils Kitchen that is the subject of this “GeoSights” article is a relatively small (about 700 feet across) south-facing amphitheater exposing redrock hoodoos at the head of Red Creek in the Wasatch Range, about 14 road miles northeast of the town of Nephi in Juab County.

About 60 to 70 million years ago the rock at Devils Kitchen was gravel, sand, and mud deposited by streams flowing out of a now-long-gone mountain range. Continuing deposition resulted in deep burial which, coupled with deep time, compressed and cemented the sediment, transforming it into rock.

With its red hoodoos, Devils Kitchen looks a bit like a miniature Bryce Canyon. The mineral hematite (iron oxide) creates the red color.

Beginning roughly 17 million years ago, movement of the Wasatch fault slowly uplifted the Wasatch Range, with Devils Kitchen along for the ride. The rise of the Wasatch Range empowered erosion to excavate and expose the rock we see today.