A park can be many different things to many different people. For many people, Canyonlands National Park is a favorite showcase of geology.
In each of the park’s districts, you can see the remarkable effects of millions of years of erosion on a landscape of sedimentary rock. The Green River has carved a channel out of rock layers deposited nearly 300 million years ago creating an open book for earth science enthusiast of all ages.
In any science, it is important to accurately and understandably describe your observations for others. Whether for advancing research or informing the public, communicating your work is critical.
For geologists, this comes down to describing rocks’ colors, patterns, shapes and other features. These features may reveal evidence about the past, clues to their suitability for a construction project, or signs of valuable natural resources hidden within them.
Per student or small group:
• 4 ounces of modeling clay
• Sugar cubes (3-6 per cave)
• See-through bowl (cutting the top off a 2-liter bottle works well)
Earth processes such as volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, and glaciers leave behind evidence of their passing in the form of layers known as deposits. By studying deposits of recent geologic events, geologists are able to better understand older deposits and identify the processes that caused them.
Try this activity from the Association of American State Geologists!