Day 5 – Grand Canyon / Petrified Forest

Wednesday, day 5 we left the Grand Canyon and made several roadside stops. It was a long day of driving.  I asked Sarah Maithel to give her thoughts & perspective of the day.  Sarah is a 2012 CU geology graduate & current PhD student at Loma Linda University. She has been a part of this trip this week and has been an encouragement to the students.

“Our first stop in the morning was Lipan Point, which provided an awesome view of the Colorado River and geologic formations in the Grand Canyon.  Here, we could clearly see formations at the base of the Canyon that were less visible from other overlooks.  We identified various features, including the basement rock (at the bottom of the Canyon) and erosional surfaces/contacts between rock layers.  Dr. Whitmore explained that while many of the layers in the Canyon were probably deposited during the Flood, some may have been formed or deposited during the creation week or in pre-Flood time.”

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Dr. Whitmore talks to the students at Lipan Point.

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A beautiful view of the Grand Canyon from Lipan Point.

“Before leaving Grand Canyon, we stopped at Lipan Point and then Desert View Overlook and Watchtower.  This gave us a great view of the Colorado River and allowed us to take a few last photos of the canyon before leaving the area.”

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A beautiful view of the Grand Canyon from Desert View Overlook.

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Desert View Watchtower designer by Mary Colter in 1932..

 

“We then left Grand Canyon and drove several hours to Holbrook, AZ, where we climbed into a wash to look at the Coconino Sandstone.  I spoke to the class about my current PhD research on the sandstone.  The students documented textures and measured the orientation of the cross-bedding (“strike and dip”).  We then discussed how some of these cross-bed characteristics may allow us to interpret how the beds were deposited.”

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A group picture in the Coconino Sandstone Outcrops in Holbrook, AZ.

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Mark Tucker gets some great drone footage as Sarah explains the cross-bedding.

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“For our last stop of the day, we visited Petrified Forest National Park, where we saw many petrified (fossilized) trees scattered across the surface.  We discussed what processes might have preserved and deposited the trees.  The exceptional preservation of the trees probably suggests that they did not have a significant amount of time to decay before they were fossilized.”

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The students stand the length of a large tree in the Petrified Forest.

On Thursday, day 6, we will drive from Flagstaff to Phoenix, to catch an afternoon flight back to Cedarville.

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