Friday, May 18, 2012

Name That Park! The Answers to Yesterday's Quiz

I am home from a reconnaissance trip checking out the route of a proposed July 21-27 trip with the AAPG (although anyone is invited to join us). I came across some nice new localities, and I thought I would challenge some of my geography-expert readers to a bit of test. Here was the challenge:  Name these parks and monuments! The point of the exercise was not to foster any competition, but to help folks realize that there is far more out there on the Colorado Plateau than those big three parks that are on the tourism bus routes. It is staggering to think of how many beautiful places can be found just a few feet beyond the resort areas of the biggest and best-known parks.
1) The clue: The arch above is formed in the Entrada sandstone of Jurassic age.

The answer: Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah. Kodachrome is a great little park with some odd features (explained below), but it also includes a nicely proportioned arch (Shakespeare Arch). It is along a 1/2 mile trail in the southeast part of the park.
2) The clue: The folks who manage the ruins above claim them to be the single most visited archaeological site in the United States.

The answer: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Grand Canyon is not famous for its ruins and archaeology, but the park has a rich record of past human habitation. Tusayan Ruins are at the eastern edge of the South Rim, and have been developed into a small museum and trail.
3) The Clue: The layers are topsy-turvy because they were trapped into a monocline

The answer: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The monument protects 1.9 million acres between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks, making it the largest park on the plateau (Grand Canyon has 1.2 million acres). It may also have the greatest landscape variety of any park on the plateau, with huge mesas, deep slot canyons, and structures. The Cockscomb is a huge monocline that cuts across the park, and is traversed by Cottonwood Wash road between Big Water and Cannonville
4)The Clue: The rocks above may actually be parts of two or three parks.

The Answer: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and possibly Lake Powell National Recreational Area. The Vermilion Cliffs stand high above the Colorado River at Lees Ferry and Navajo Bridge. There is quite the contrast between the two parks: the Vermilion Cliffs are isolated, and practically without roads or trails while Lake Powell is an artificial reservoir that promotes all manner of tourist pursuits. This picture was taken from a low ridge by Navajo Bridge, where one can stand in the center of the span and look down hundreds of feet to the river. For years Lees Ferry was the only water-level crossing of the Colorado River for hundreds of miles.
5) The Clue: What are those white cliffs in the distance?

The Answer: Zion National Park. Most visitors to Zion National Park only tour the valley floor without realizing that the park is much larger. Paved roads reach two of the isolated corners at Kolob Terraces and the Kolob Fingers. On the Terraces, one can access Lava Point, one of the highest points in the park. From the overlook, one can see the rim of Zion Canyon and the rather vast forested wilderness beyond the rim.
6) The Clue: Note that the high cliff on the right is the same rock as the lower cliff on the left, only offset. This park has its faults...

The Answer: Grand Canyon National Park. If you've ever breathlessly struggled up the Bright Angel Trail, you may have missed the significance of the final switchback before the rim. The trail utilizes the fault line to cross some of the more difficult cliffs in the canyon.
7) The Clue: The spires could be called hoodoos, but they aren't, usually.

The Answer: Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah. The small state park preserves unusual features called pipes, whose origins are enigmatic. The pipes sometimes recall the spires and hoodoos of nearby Bryce Canyon National Park, but they formed differently.
8) The Clue: The unmistakable clue is the color of the road.

The Answer: Zion National Park. Nothing in this picture seems to recall Zion National Park, as there are few conifers or meadows on the valley floor. But there is one constant: the red road. Zion engineers use red cinders in the roadbuilding process, and thus the roads mesh better with the overall visual environment.
9) The Clue: Basalt lava flows in a park not usually associated with volcanism.

The Answer: Zion National Park. Cenozoic lava flows cover parts of Zion National Park, but the rocks are only seen along the Kolob Terraces Road or downstream, out of the park boundaries.
10) The Clue: A slot canyon carved into the Navajo Sandstone.

The Answer: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Cottonwood Wash has a short stretch of narrows cut through the Navajo Sandstone, which forms high cliffs and deep slot canyons. This one is in Cottonwood Wash, and has a nice 1 1/2 mile trail.

These parks are great places to visit!
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