• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


DRISCOLL, Nicholaus David, Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602 and MORRIS, Thomas H., Department of Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602,

A new geologic map of the Deer Point 7.5 minute quadrangle located around the southern portion of Capitol Reef National Park in south-central Utah provides stratigraphic and structural detail not previously available.

Mapping the quadrangle will aid in: 1-resolving academic, 2-educational, and 3-societal needs. First, the UGS is currently working on the Hite Crossing 30’ x 60’ map which covers the Deer Point quadrangle. Mapping of the Deer Point quadrangle will add clarity to the Hite Crossing map. It will increase our understanding of depositional, deformational, and erosional aspects of the area and more broadly of Utah’s geologic history. Second, several hiking trails within the quadrangle lead to fascinating geological features like the Grand Gulch, Circle Cliffs, Brimhall Double Arch, Fountain Tanks, Big Thomson Mesa, Halls Creek and the Halls Creek Narrows. Third, numerous mass movements exist around the Circle Cliffs including the “Red Slide”. As human population and urban expansion continues, geologic hazard assessment becomes more critical. The Red Slide is well exposed given the arid climate of Utah. It presents the opportunity to gain insights into potentially hazardous mass movements. Several aspects of the Red Slide are examined including the break-away zone, volume and classification. Additionally, the quadrangle contains the Chinle and Morrison formations which have produced uranium throughout the Colorado Plateau as well as accumulations of petrified wood and vertebrate dinosaur bones. The Morrison Formation also creates the ecological conditions for the growth of the endangered Wright’s Fishook cactus that park biologists are concerned about. In summary, a better understanding of the bedrock and Quaternary geology of the quadrangle will serve scientific, educational, and societal interests.

1:12,000 color aerial photographs, obtained from park personnel, have been used to map the distribution of rock units. The geology is first mapped on aerial photos using VR 2 software by Cardinal Systems. This is followed by reiterative field mapping to assure accuracy. The geology was transferred to ArcGIS and overlain onto a USGS 7.5’ topographic base map. The finished map and accompanying explanatory plate will be submitted to the Utah Geological Survey for review and possible publication.

Meeting Home page GSA Home Page