Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Swell was swell...

and that's no Aprils' Fools joke. On the way to Utah I spent parts of the last two days exploring the San Rafael Swell, a large Laramide-age sandstone upwarp in south-central Utah.  This was the view from my sleeping perch at the edge of the Wedge Overlook at sunrise this morning (click images to enlarge):

My long shadow towards the west accompanies the view of the Little Grand Canyon of Utah, where the San Rafael River has incised deeply into the heart of the structure:

The early morning view to the east, towards the rising sun, has an Ansel Adams-esque quality to it:

The Buckskin Wash pictograph panel is one of my favorites in Utah, extending more than 100 ft along the base of a wall composed of the Navajo Sandstone:

These anthropomorphic figures with outstretched arms are almost certainly inspired by the phenomena of virga, where falling rain evaporates before striking the surface:

And I'm sure there's a story behind this snake encounter, recorded as rock art:

The bridge spanning the San Rafael River was built in 1936, and though no longer in use, stands as a historic monument:

Bottleneck Peak forms the prominent natural monument in the center of the region:

This ground-hugging beauty, phlox (?), was blooming in the early desert spring:

And lastly, here's the view where I-70 drops off the monoclinal fold that defines the eastern side of the uplift, with an interpretive geologic exhibit includes an east-west cross-sectional diagram:


  1. Glad you got a nice respite from all the rain in WA! Great pics.