20 Bags, Two Geologists, Plenty of Mountains

EPHRAIM, UTAH — After no sleep, Tricia Hall (’14) and I had to get up at 3 am to catch our early flight to Utah.  It is a good thing that we arrived at the airport in plenty of time (thanks, Patrice, for the schedule!!), because one of our many equipment bags was searched several times.  Apparently the Schmidt Hammer (“Schmidty”) caused some concern.  But, it is not always that you have concrete strength testing equipment in your carry-on.

After a good night’s sleep, we were bright-eyed and ready for “reconn day” up Sixmile Canyon, just east of Sterling, UT.  Tricia will be working on her I.S. within the Cretaceous Sixmile Canyon Formation, which is exposed in all its glory near the mouth of the canyon.  Her focus is to investigate the wonderful deformation bands within the formation and their relationship to local structures.  To get a good overall perspective of some of the deformation in the area, we investigated two major faults that are exposed near the base of the formation.


Here’s Tricia, admiring the fault plane and noticing the upturned Flagstaff Limestone on the downthrown block.


After examining the faults, we decided to have some lunch.  Our view of the Sanpete Valley was gorgeous.  The sun was warm, with few clouds…and there was just enough breeze to make lunch very relaxing.  Take a look at the photo above, which shows a view toward Ninemile Reservoir and the infamous Arapien Shale that forms the core of the Sanpete-Sevier Valley Anticline.


The photo above is of the Sixmile Canyon Formation, which contains deformation bands of various types and sizes, along with traditional joints.  The formation at this locality is a medium- to even coarse-grained sandstone that shows the obvious impacts of fluid flow and iron-stained surfaces.


We had a great reconn day.  However, in the photo above, Tricia is looking out for mountain lions, which apparently are a little problem in the canyon!!  Lucky for us, we were able to get access to a southern exposure of the formation and had a great conversation with the landowner about all of the bears and mountain lions and recent “kill sites” that he has seen in the area.  We are psyched.

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3 Responses to 20 Bags, Two Geologists, Plenty of Mountains

  1. Mark Wilson says:

    Such superb weather you have, Shelley and Tricia! I hope you see a mountain lion, but only from a distance — and it is not hungry. Good luck out there!

  2. Andrew Retzler says:

    Not too far off from me. If I had a car I’d drive down for a visit and fun field outing! The Sixmile Formation is pretty interesting! And, yes, hiking throughout remote canyons in mountain lion country can be pretty frightening!

  3. Elyssa Krivicich says:

    Hey Shelley,

    Wanted to say that these pictures are very familiar to me. I still remember field camp and how gorgeous the geology was….:-)

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