GeoSights— Utah's belly button, Upheaval Dome

Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, is a colorful circular “belly button,” unique among the broad mesas and deep canyons of the Colorado Plateau.

The rim of Upheaval Dome is 3 miles across and over 1000 feet above the core floor. The central peak in the core is 3000 feet in diameter and rises 750 feet from the floor.

Since the late 1990s, the origin of the Upheaval Dome structure has been considered to be either a pinched-off salt dome or a complex meteorite impact crater; in other words the “belly button” is either an “outie” (dome) or “innie” (crater).

Both origin hypotheses account for the overall structure of Upheaval Dome, assuming approximately a mile of overlying rock has been eroded. The main differences between the two hypotheses are the amount of time and the pressures needed to produce the structure.



SURVEY NOTES volume 42, number 1

This issue contains:

*Utah Potash
*Major Oil
*The Mercur District
*Survey News
*Teacher’s Corner
*Energy News: Legislative Directives to the Utah State Energy Program 2009
*Glad You Asked:  What are Those Lines on the Mountain? From Bread Lines to Erosion-Control Lines
*GeoSights: Cascade Falls, Kane County
*New Publications



Glad You Asked—Glacial Striations and Slickensides

slickensidesWhat are those groovy rocks and how did they get that way?
Carole McCalla

On a hike around Lake Blanche below Sundial Peak in Big Cottonwood Canyon, a group of hikers came across long, straight, parallel grooves on a smooth, polished rock surface. Recalling another location where they had seen similar features at the foot of the mountains north of downtown Salt Lake City, they wondered if these markings were formed in the same way. Indeed, what exactly are they and how were they formed?

Although the smooth, grooved surfaces at these two locations are similar, they were actually formed in very different ways.



Laying to Rest an OverARCHing Issue

landscape-arch1Does Utah have the biggest natural arch in the world? Yes. Sort of. Depends on your definition of “biggest”.

Mapping geologists with the Utah Geological Survey recently published an article in the May 2009 edition of Survey Notes that attempts to answer that question. “In nearly three decades of working in Utah’s geology, I have been asked many times, ‘What is the largest/longest/biggest arch in the world?'” says Grant Willis, article author and UGS mapping geologist. “For years I told people it was Landscape Arch in Arches National Park.”


Related Links

Natural Arch and Bridge Society Web site

Survey Notes- May 2009 article

Salt Lake Tribune article

Deseret News article article