Geology 1105

Geology and the National Parks



Test # 1 Study Guide


Test # 1 is on Thursday, 14 February 2019, from 3:55 PM to 5:15 PM, in Founders Hall room 2156.  Everything covered in the course & in the readings, from the beginning of the course to the end of the Great Sand Dunes topic will be fair game for test questions.  Test questions will be a mix of multiple choice, true-or-false, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank.









Geology 1105 PowerPoint Lectures

as Unlisted Youtube Videos (no narration; no audio)


Introductory Topics # 1

Introductory Topics # 2

Grand Canyon National Park

Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Arches National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park




Test questions will cover (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:


1) NAME THE PARK - I will show you pictures that typify the scenery of ALL of the parks we’ve covered so far this term - and you have to correctly identify the park.

Park options: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Great Sand Dunes.



2) Questions covering:

What is geology?  What does it cover?

What are some of the major fields in geology?

Be familiar with the overall structure of the Earth.

What is the core?  What is it made of?  What are the core’s characteristics?

What’s the difference between the inner core & the outer core?

What is the mantle?  What is it made of?

What is the crust?  What are the two types of crust?  What are the characteristics of the two types of crust?  What type of rock is dominant in each of the two types of crust?

What is the Moho?



Why do continents move?

What is Continental Drift?  Who proposed it?  What was his evidence?

What is Pangaea?

What is lithosphere?  What are the characteristics of lithosphere?

What is asthenosphere?  What are characteristics of asthenosphere?

What forces cause plates to move?

Where do most earthquakes occur?

What is divergence?

What is convergence?  What is subduction?  What is collision?

Do mountains form along subduction zones & collision zones?

What is transform plate movement?  Example of a transform plate boundary?

How old is the universe?

How old is Earth?  How old is our solar system?

How old are the oldest fossils?  What are they?

How old are the oldest fossils of modern humans?

Be generally familiar with the geologic time scale (eons, eras, periods, epochs).



What are minerals?  What are minerals composed of?

How many minerals have been named?

What is the most common mineral in the Earth’s crust?

Be generally familiar with some of the most common minerals: potassium feldspar, plagioclase feldspar, muscovite mica, biotite mica, halite, gypsum, pyrite, calcite, hematite.

Example of a mineral that dissolves/bubbles in acid?

Example of a mineral that tastes salty?

What is fool’s gold?

Example of an iron-bearing mineral that’s brick-reddish in color?


What are rocks?

What is texture?  What are crystalline, clastic, and foliated textures?

How are igneous rocks formed?

What are extrusive igneous rocks?  What are intrusive igneous rocks?

How are sedimentary rocks formed?

How are siliciclastic sedimentary rocks formed?  Examples? (conglomerate (has pebbles), sandstone (has sand), siltstone (has silt), shale (has mud & clay))

How are biogenic sedimentary rocks formed?  Examples? (limestone, coal, chalk)

How are chemical sedimentary rocks formed?  Examples? (rock salt, rock gypsum, dolostone)

How are metamorphic rocks formed?  What factors result in metamorphism?  What is metamorphic grade?  What is high-grade metamorphism?  What is low-grade metamorphism?

Examples of metamorphic rocks?



What is stratigraphy?

What is relative age dating? (putting rocks & geologic events in sequence of occurrence; in other words, determining a geologic history)

What are formations?  What are members?  What are groups?



What is structural geology?

Where are structures (folds & faults) most common?

Know the geometry of the common types of folds: anticlines, synclines, and monoclines.

What is a fault?  What is the result of sudden, jolt-like movement along a fault? (earthquake)

What is the hanging wall of a fault?  What is the footwall of a fault?



What is the National Park Service (NPS) in charge of?  National parks only?

Is the NPS in charge of national forests?

Who can establish a national park in America?

What was America’s first national park?

How many American national parks are there?  How are they intended to be used by the public?  Do other countries have national parks?

What problems do some national parks experience?

Who can establish a national monument?

What was America’s first national monument?  Who established it?

Are all national monuments geologic in character?



Where is the Grand Canyon?  How long is it?  How wide is it?  How deep is it?

How much of Earth’s history can be seen at the Grand Canyon?

What is a physiographic province?  In what physiographic province is the Grand Canyon?  What types of rocks are generally found in the Colorado Plateau?  What is their overall geometry? (mostly flat-lying/horizontal sedimentary rocks)

What river has erosively carved the Grand Canyon?  What is canyon country?  What other rivers have carved canyons in the Colorado Plateau?

What is base level?  What is stream gradient?  What is the erosive capability of a river with a steep stream gradient?  What is the erosive capability of a river with a near-horizontal stream gradient?

Most Grand Canyon rocks are of what age? (Precambrian & Paleozoic)

The oldest rocks at Grand Canyon are where?  What is the Inner Gorge?

What is the Principle of Superposition?

What are the oldest Grand Canyon rocks? (igneous? metamorphic? sedimentary?)

Be familiar with the characteristics of granite.  What is felsic chemisty? (light-colored igneous rocks with >65% silica, rich in K & Na, and dominated by quartz & K-feldspar).

Be familiar with the characteristics of gneiss and schist.

The oldest Grand Canyon rocks are what age?

Are the layered rocks of the Grand Canyon Supergroup flat & horizontal?  What is the Principle of Original Horizontality?

What types of rocks are common in the Grand Canyon Supergroup?

What is the age of the Grand Canyon Supergroup rocks?

Most of the stack of rocks in the walls of the Grand Canyon are what age?

Be familiar with the characteristics of sandstone, shale, and limestone.

What types of rocks would you expect to form cliffs in the climates of southwestern America?

What types of rocks would you expect to form slopes in the climates of southwestern America?

What is differential weathering and differential erosion?

What is a transgression?  What is a regression?

What are unconformities?  How do unconformities form?

What is a disconformity?  Example in the Grand Canyon?

What is a nonconformity?  Example in the Grand Canyon?

What is an angular unconformity?  Example in the Grand Canyon?

Be able to recognize types of unconformities.

What geologic events occurred in the Grand Canyon area during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic?

What is an orogeny?

How much has the Colorado Plateau been uplifted?  When did this uplift occur?

When did the Grand Canyon itself get erosively carved by rivers?

The Colorado River got dammed up several times by natural geologic events - what did this?  What happened to these natural dams?

Lesson - the rocks in the Grand Canyon are old.  The canyon itself is young.



What river has carved Zion Canyon?

In what physiographic province is Zion Canyon?

What is the Basin & Range Physiographic Province?  Where is it located?  How did it form?

The tall, vertical cliffs of Zion Canyon are mostly what rock type?

Where is Zion Canyon located?

What is the age relationship between Zion Canyon and the bedrock there? (the rocks are old; the canyon is young -- the Grand Canyon is the same).

The rocks making up the stratigraphy at Zion Park are mostly what age?

Be generally familiar with Zion stratigraphy & rock types.

What is the Navajo Sandstone?  Does it weather/erode into cliffs or slopes?  Sand grains in the Navajo Sandstone are principally composed of what minerals?  The Navajo Sandstone is commonly what colors?  What causes those colors?  In what environment were Navajo Sandstone sediments originally deposited?  What is an erg?

What is cross-bedding?  How does it form?  Be able to recognize cross-bedding.  Were the sands of the Navajo deposited by water currents or wind currents?

What is the Kayenta Formation?  Does it weather/erode into cliffs or slopes?  What are redbeds?  What is siltstone?

What are trace fossils?  Example of a trace fossil?

Where do springs often emerge in Zion Canyon?  Why do springs emerge where they do?

What are blind arches?  How do they form?  Do Navajo Sandstone cliffs erode mainly from the top-down or from the bottom-up?  Why?

When was this portion of the Earth’s crust stretched?

Why is Zion Canyon so deep?  Which is greater at Zion Canyon - erosive downcutting or erosive widening of the canyon?

What is a slot canyon? (a deep, narrow fracture that has been enlarged by running water)

What are cinder cones?  Are they small or large volcanoes?  Do they erupt for long periods of geologic time?  Do they have steeply sloping sides or gently sloping sides?

Zion Canyon got dammed up by a natural geologic event 4000 years ago.  What caused it?  What formed behind this natural dam?  What happened to the dam?

What’s a rockfall?  What’s a mudflow?



Where is Bryce Canyon?

What is badlands topography?  What are hoodoos?

What stratigraphic unit & rocks make up the main scenery at Bryce Canyon?  What is the “colored” name for cliffs that are made up of these rocks?

Is Bryce Canyon really a canyon?

In what physiographic province is Bryce Canyon?  What is the overall geology?

The Claron Formation at Bryce Canyon represents sediments deposited in what kind of environment originally?  How large was this lake?  When did this lake exist?  What fossils are found in the Claron Formation that support the interpretation of an ancient lake environment?

What are faults?  What are joints?  How did the faults & joints at Bryce Canyon Park form?

What are hoodoos?  How did these erosive pillars form?

What is chemical weathering?  What is mechanical weathering?  Which type of weathering is more important for understanding the geologic origin of Bryce Canyon scenery?

Where is weathering most effective?

What two specific mechanical weathering processes have produced the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon?  What is temperature change?  How does it break apart rocks?  What is frost wedging?  How does it break apart rocks?



Where is Arches Park located?  Does this locality have the highest concentration of natural arches on Earth?

In what physiographic province is Arches Park located?  Is the stratigraphy in Arches Park broadly similar to other Colorado Plateau national parks?

Is the formation & origin of natural arches at Arches Park simple or complex, geologically?

What are the 3 categories of rock arches?

What is a blind arch?  What is a natural arch?  What is a natural bridge?  Are natural bridges rarer or more common than natural arches?

What is the main scenery-making unit at Arches Park?  What are the main rocks types in that unit?  In what environment were those sediments originally deposited?

Be generally familiar with the characteristics of the middle & lower members of the Entrada Sandstone.

Are most arches in Arches Park developed at/near the Slickrock Member-Dewey Bridge Member contact?

What are evaporites?  How do they form?  What is their texture?

What is rock salt?  What mineral is in it?

What is rock gypsum?  What mineral is in it?

Does rock salt compress or get compacted when deeply buried?

What are the technical terms for upward-“blooped” masses of rock salt?

What happened to the overlying sedimentary rocks when salt domes/salt diapirs/salt anticlines form?

What happened as the salt anticlines eroded and water encountered the rock salt?  What happened after the salt anticlines collapsed?

What are joints?  What are faults?

Are the joints at Arches Park generally closely-spaced & regularly-spaced, or not?

Are joints zones of weakness, from a weathering/erosion point of view?

What is chemical weathering?  What specific chemical has principally attacked the sandstones in Arches Park, resulting in the development of sandstone fins and natural arches?  How does that specific chemical form?

What is spheroidal weathering?

What are sandstone fins?

How do natural arches form by weathering of sandstone fins?



Where is Great Sand Dunes located?

Does this park have the tallest sand dunes in North America?  How big is the main sand dune field here?

What is the geologic context for Great Sand Dunes?

What is the Southern Rocky Mountains Physiographic Province?

What is the Rio Grande Rift?  What is a graben?  How do grabens form?  What type of faulting results in the formation of a graben?  What kind of stress produces these types of faults and grabens?  What is a hanging wall?  What is a footwall?  What is a normal fault?  What is a horst?

Why does the Great Sand Dunes dune field stay where it is? (it's surrounded by mountains - it's "trapped")

What is a sand dune?  What is sand?  What is the general composition of sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park?  Is all sand in the world the same general composition?

What is the windward face of a dune?  What is the leeward/slip face of a dune?

What are transverse dunes?  Under what current conditions do they form?

What are barchan dunes?  Under what current conditions do they form?

What are star dunes?  Under what current conditions do they form?

When did this dune field start to form?

What are the sources of sediments that make up the sand dunes here? (sediments left behind by melting glaciers and sediments produced by erosion of nearby mountains)

What 3 conditions are needed to get a sand dune field existing for long periods of time?

What does sorting mean?  What does well-sorted mean?  What does poorly sorted mean?

What are surging flows?  How & why do they occur?

What are braided streams?  What are meandering streams?  Be able to recognize the geometries of both.

What is diagenesis/lithification?  What are the processes (steps) involved?

What is cement?  What are the common cement minerals?





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