Sunday, June 30, 2013

Valley of Fire State Park: Part Deux!

After leaving the White Domes trail we headed back down the road to an "unofficial" but well traveled trail to  Valley of Fire State Park's version of the Wave.  I did expect a bit larger of a wave as most pictures online had no scale. That being said, it was a great little hike and the wave was still darn purty!

Red and white waves "breaking" on the sandstone.

Trying to get to the front of the Wave. From base to crest it is roughly 5 meters.  

Looking west from the wave to several more wavy patterned  rocks.

Looking north from the Wave. The deep red outcrop is aptly named the Rock of Gibraltar
The next stop along the way boasted several petroglyphs as well as French folks. An entire tour bus full o' French had disembarked on the trail ahead of us.  I put on my best accent and  "pardonez moi"ed as we slipped by them on the trail.  At one point, I did hear a woman call another a salope, which is bitch, and then laughed to myself as that is one of my remaining vocab words from studying the language years ago. Ahem....back to the trail.  Several examples of petroglyphs lined the canyons walls.

Picture enlarged to show detail.  

Not quite as full as newspaper rock outside Canyonlands, but still impressive for a lesser known park.
 The trail ended at a small steep slot canyon with several pot holes that collect rainwater, the main reason this was a place to stay in the desert. It was however, very difficult to get a picture into the potholes without finding yourself in one.

I swear the watering hole is below the foreground.
Heading back on the trail I was able to use a little more French and converse with someone that is was in fact "trรจs chaud" (very hot).  The last canyon on this segment of the road was Fire Canyon. It was a fairly narrow canyon with no trail, but the overlook was great. You can see the older grey rocks of the thrust fault in the background.

The color difference in from the upper part of the Aztec Sandstone (whiteish) to the lower part (reddish).

The rest of the park was mostly driving around and looking at various outcrops shaped like things. There was a Grand Piano:

It's about twice the size of a normal grand piano.

There was an arch:

Hello! I'm an arch!
 And some beehives:


Though I can say I am spoiled having Arches NP and Canyonlands NP within a couple hours driving distance, not to mention Colorado NM within 10 minutes, Valley of Fire State Park is definitely worth seeing if you have the opportunity.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Valley of Fire State Park-Part One

This May my dad and I took a road trip to California to see my sister graduate from college. We took our time and made some detours on the way there. One of those was to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. It is home to large outcrops of the Aztec Sandstone (time correlative to the Navaho Sandstone seen across the Colorado Plateau) and several settlements of past cultures. We drove in from the east entrance and stopped at the first outcrop with a sign.

As the sign says, it is indeed Elephant Rock.
The problem was the short trail to see it wound around so many other possible elephants, once you actually found this one, it wasn't nearly as impressive.  It was enough however to inspire us to see elephants in just about every other outcrop in the park.

That could have been an elephant in the left half of the picture...right?

On the way to the Visitor Center we saw the Seven Sisters outcrop which had a few little picnic sites situated within their crevasses.

There could be considered more than seven, but we'll go with it.
As we continued on, the mountains/hills to the left looked a little suspicious:

What are those red rocks doing under those suspicious grey upper layers?

I decided there had to be some sort of thrust or detachment fault in there and sure enough in the Visitor Center my suspicions were confirmed.  Those are grey Paleozoic carbonates and shales overlying the reds of the Mesozoic sandstones and mudstones.

Click for a larger image if you want to see the trace of the fault.
From the the Visitor Center we moved on to the White Domes Trail.  It's a short loop hike through some of the more colorful outcrops of the Aztec Sandstone.

The upper meters of the Aztec display beautiful mixtures of oranges, pinks and reds.
 The wind and water carved out some short, but deep slot canyons along the trail.

One of the slot canyons on the loop hike with a dad for scale.
 The area had been effected tectonically as there are a multitude of normal and reverse faults running through the park as well as the thrust fault mentioned earlier in the post. The evidence can be seen throughout the sandstones on this trail.

One small fault in the slot canyons. 

Deformation bands (DB2's for those in the know) displaying ladder structure.
And have I mentioned the colors yet?

Wonderful contrast of the pastels against the brilliant oranges and reds.

This ends the first portion of Valley of Fire State Park.  The second half, which was still the same day but would make for quite the long blog post, will be up in the next week!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Welcome and Accretionary Wedge #57

Welcome to the new blog set up!  If you have come here via Clastic Fill, I hope you find this blog just as exciting as the last one. Well, more so, as the reason for setting up the new blog is in the interest of being more active. In honor of new beginnings, my contribution to this month's Accretionary Wedge is something I found while ripping up carpet in the new house.  Submitted for your viewing pleasure, the wooden floor spreading ridge:

Never know what you can uncover in old houses.

This spreading ridge sits over the central support of the house and as the edges settle, the center is apparently staying put a little better. look at those beautiful slip faults bounding the divergent wood "plates".

Anyway, welcome to the new set up and I hope you enjoy!