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Hidden in the Hoodoos: Interpreting the Chronology and Past Environments of Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Author(s): Scully, Caitlin
  • et al.
Abstract

Southwestern Utah is home to the perfect blend of common elements that create uncommonly breathtaking landscapes. The world’s largest and most colorful collection of spectacularly shaped rock pinnacles, or hoodoos, is protected within Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park. Little is known about the age of the hoodoo-forming depositional environment. This capstone project uses geochemistry of soil carbonates in the Claron Formation to date the primary geologic features of Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park. The geochemistry of the Claron Formation records evidence of global hyperthermal climate events that have been recognized in both deep sea and terrestrial paleoclimate archives. These hyperthermals were produced by releases of carbon to the atmosphere that are broadly similar to those predicted for the year 2100. The new chronology is part of a manuscript to be submitted for scientific publication. In conjunction, interpretative and educational materials have been created for national park staff and visitors. By providing the National Park Service with an accurate geologic history, visitors will come to understand geology and past super warm climate events, and how both relate to future climate change.

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