Skip to content

The Great Upheaval Dome Controversy EarthCache

Hidden : 02/25/2009
2.5 out of 5
3 out of 5

Size: Size:   not chosen (not chosen)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

Geocaching Colorado
In Canyonlands NP, Islands in the sky section. It can be viewed from whale rock or upheaval dome trail, the cache location. Trail is between .8 mile and 1.8 miles long and the elevation change is 200'-250', depending on how far you want to go.

Proud Member of UTAG NOTICE: ALL LOG ENTRIES NOT MEETING THE LOGGING REQUIREMENTS WILL BE DELETED! See logging reqirements at end of description. This feature is a geological enigma that has split scientists as to its origin. It looks like a meteor crator but with an eroded aticline (dome) in the middle of the crator. Uphieval dome was long thought to be a very large example of an eroded salt dome, formed from overlying rock pressuring the underlying salt layer wich in turn would heave up through a week section in the rock layer. This long accepted theory was challenged in 1993, when Eugene Shoemaker (co-discoverer of Shoemaker-Levy Commet) and Ken Herkenhof introduced evedence supporting the then unpopular meteor crater theory. Basically this theory explains the concentric rings surrounding the dome as being a direct result of extraterrestrial impact, much like the rings on the surface of a body of water when a rock is thrown into it. They discovered shattercones (conical shaped rocks with fractures radiating out from a central point) and shocked quartz (normal quartz that has been highly fractured) which is direct evidence of an impact. Further supporting evidence came two years later when John Louie of the University of Nevada/Reno conducted seismographic tests of the area and concluded there was no salt layer under upheaval dome ( Acording to the National Parks Service, rocks found on the surface of the crator were once a mile below the serface and are not found anywhere else in the area. THE COMPEATING THEORIES Salt Dome theory ( A thick layer of salt, formed by the evaporation of ancient landlocked seas, underlies much of southeastern Utah and Canyonlands National Park. When under pressure from thousands of feet of overlying rock, the salt can flow plastically, like ice moving at the bottom of a glacier. In addition, salt is less dense than sandstone. As a result, over millions of years salt can flow up through rock layers as a "salt bubble", rising to the surface and creating salt domes that deform the surrounding rock. When geologists first suggested that Upheaval Dome was the result of a salt dome, they believed the land form resulted from erosion of the rock layers above the dome itself. Recent research suggests that a salt bubble as well as the overlying rock have been entirely removed by erosion and the present surface of Upheaval Dome is the pinched off stem below the missing bubble. If true, Upheaval Dome would earn the distinction of being the most deeply eroded salt structure on earth. Impact crator theory (from When meteorites collide with the earth, they leave impact craters like the well-known one in Arizona. Some geologists estimate that roughly 60 million years ago, a meteorite with a diameter of approximately one-third of a mile hit at what is now the Upheaval Dome. The impact created a large explosion, sending dust and debris high into the atmosphere. The impact initially created an unstable crater that partially collapsed. As the area around Upheaval Dome reached an equilibrium, the rocks underground heaved upward to fill the void left by the impact. Erosion since the impact has washed away any meteorite debris, and now provides a glimpse into the interior of the impact crater, exposing rock layers once buried thousands of feet underground. Thanks to and, and to the staff at Canyonlands National Park for permission in placing this Earthcache! To claim this cache, you MUST post a picture of your GPSr at any overlook location, and send me a message with the answer to the following question: Stratigraphically, name two formations that can be seen here(specifically, what sedimentary layers)? Congrats to Redburne on FTF!

Additional Hints (No hints available.)