Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What a Geologist Sees - Part 36 - The Navajo Sandstone

[A minor disclaimer - I am not 100% sure that this is the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, there are other eolian sandstones in southern Utah, but I am going with the assumption that this is Navajo.]

This "wow" photo was taken earlier this summer by a couple from our church while they were on vacation in Colorado, Arizona, and Utah.  They were kind enough to give me copies of their photos for educational use (and those will be captioned and attributed).  As my budget and schedule doesn't permit such excursions, I am grateful for their photos - past and present.  This is their first "digital trip", as past trips have been photographed on 35-mm film, necessitating scanning of prints or slides. 

The above photo was taken along Utah Scenic Byway 12, somewhere near Zion National Park.  This couple - Bob and Jenny - are very good about creating scrapbooks and logs of their travels and collecting all sort of info from the National, State, and local parks that they visit.  But sometimes it is some of the "in-between" photos that are hard to locate (or else I can't find the same scenes photographed by other people - for ID purposes).  I have several other great photos (for educational purposes) of the Navajo Sandstone.

This is another of their photos from this year, of "Checkerboard Mesa" in Zion National Park.  An image of Checkerboard Mesa used to grace the cover of one of the Physical Geology lab manuals we used to use.

This photo from Upper Antelope Canyon (from a scanned negative) is from a previous western trip.

Though I haven't visited any outcrop areas of the Navajo Sandstone for years (decades), from my past photos and newer photos given to me, I would have to say that the Navajo Sandstone is my "favorite" sedimentary unit for photographic purposes. I don't know of any fossil-laden areas of the Navajo, it is the large-scale eolian cross-beds that make for great photographs and educational teaching tools.

[BTW, for fossil-collecting purposes, I would have to say that the Eocene Ocala Limestone (and similar-aged units in Georgia) is my favorite sedimentary unit.]


  1. It would help to know for sure whether the top photo was taken east or west of Zion on Hwy 12, but I suspect it was taken not too far east of Zion, in which case I'd be pretty comfortable with identifying it as Navajo Sandstone. There's certainly a lot of beautiful exposures of Navajo between Zion and the Aquarius Plateau, and though I love that highway, I haven't yet committed every one of them to memory.

  2. Oh, and another thing... it's more commonly known as Checkerboard Mesa, not Checkerboard Mtn.

  3. Ron, thanks for the correction. Mind fart. I know I had read that elsewhere.

    Gad, Blogger.com is giving me trouble.