GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 229-9
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


HE, John, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN Minnesota; Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, DAVIS, George H., Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, Gould-Simpson 326, Tucson, AZ 85721 and SWANN, Don, National Park Service, Saguaro National Park, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730

Core complexes are central to the landscape of the American southwest, yet unlike other prominent geological features, such as canyons or volcanoes, they are unknown to almost all non-geologists, including most visitors to National Parks. Whereas familiar analogues can be employed to explain concepts such as tectonic stretching of the Basin and Range, or deposition of sedimentary strata in the Grand Canyon region, the structural, geometric, and geochronological complexities of core complexes make them difficult to explain to a general audience. In fact, the challenges are two-fold: pointing out and explaining the physical elements comprising core complexes (mylonites, cataclasties, detachment faults, corrugations, etc.), and conveying understanding of the processes that give rise to core complexes (shear zone deformation, grain- and crystal-scale deformation mechanisms, time-temperature paths during exhumation, etc.).

Here we present a suite of interpretive products to explain the geology of Saguaro National Park (Rincon Mountains District), which lies within the Catalina-Rincon metamorphic core complex. Using consistent and repetitive design elements, we tie together animations, diagrams, panoramic photos, a short film, and other visual products to convey nested scales of observation and to facilitate visualization of the nature and significance of the corrugated detachment fault encountered by visitors in the park. We believe this integrated “package” of visual aids presents a more comprehensive portrayal of the natural history of the park, and sets the stage for exploring interrelationships of the park’s flora, fauna, and geology.