Wet Mittens



Monument Valley, Thunderstorm, June 11, 2005

(Note the cars for scale – no, they’re not Matchboxes!)

Gosh, Doc! How am I supposed to write my final exams when you start posting great geology air photos in the midst of my procrastination!?!

Lou Maher’s “Geology by Lightplane” airphotos are indeed a great find. Bet you didn’t know that I TAed Intro Geology for Lou my very first semester as a grad student at UW-Madison. In fact, just before I graduated I scanned a whole big batch of his slides (though I don’t think my scans are the ones that made it to his website). Small world…

I don’t think there are any “official” names for the particular canyons you asked about – at least, none that I find on the USGS topo map of the area. I don’t know the geology of The Ramp area from personal experience and I haven’t got a detailed geologic map of the area, but the best I can tell your “cookie dough” unit (gotta love those edible geology analogies!) is probably one of the big sandstone units in the Cutler Formation – quite possibly the same Canyon De Chelley sandstone that makes up the vertical cliffs of the Mittens and Merrick Butte in Monument Valley. I think the Shinarump is the lighter colored (and thinner) sandstone unit that makes up the narrow cap of The Ramp. In any case, your photos of The Ramp and its neighbors are spectacular examples of hogbacks (also known as flatirons) formed by the weathering and erosion of a monocline.

Following my two week stint with FHSU’s Geology Field Camp last year I spent about a month travelling the west and shooting all the geology photos I could get, including the shot above at Lookout Point in Monument ValleyGoogle Earth Placemark. I’m still working on stitching a lot of them into QTVRs. I won’t be travelling as far this year since I’m gonna be doing the entire 4 weeks of Field Camp this summer, but I’ve got a brand new Canon Digital Rebel XT SLR and I’m itching to get out there and put it to good use. Field Camp departs on May 22 – I’ll do my best to blog from the field like I did last year.

Right back at you, Doc! ;-)