Today was a day of exploring the rocks around Snow Canyon. The dichotomy of rocks is unique from the reds, whites and blacks. For those looking of a science lesson in geology, this is a wonderful place to explore the rock cycle. Sedimentary and Igneous rock is everywhere and there are a variety of types. The Sandstone is mostly Navajo White and Red. The colour variation is due to the concentration of iron, more specifically, iron oxide or rust. This rust adds colour to the sandstone, giving it its red colour. The white sandstone is just lacking the iron oxide.
Another unique feature is the desert varnish or hard discolouration found on the red sandstone. The iron in the rock mixes with manganese to form this much harder “plating” that can be found covering the sandstone. It’s great for climbing on and we’ll be spending some time taking advantage of that in Red Rocks, Nevada soon.
The iron oxides also make these unique balls or Moki Marbles that can be found collected in windswept spots or low-lying areas. Like the varnish, they have a blackish-maroon colouring and harder texture than the surrounding sandstone.
Lastly the signs of past lava flows are abundant. It seems to flow as crumbled debris over and on top of the sandstone. The variety of this lava as Basalt, Pahoehoe and A’a can be found throughout the park, but the lava tubes were perfect to explore and to see the different kinds of Igneous rock.
I’m not sure what I’m doing taking Stacie into slot canyons and lave tubes over the past two days. She’s mentioned her claustrophobic fears and maybe I’m just trying to help her? Or maybe I’m a bad listener, or maybe I get excited and forget, or maybe….. SQUIRREL!