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Geology of Utah National Parks Syllabus



Field Location: Unaweep Canyon, Colorado.
Geologic Feature: Uncompahgre Uplift.
Necessary Background Information: Tectonic origin of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains and associated basins. 
Geologic Problem: How did the Uncompahgre Uplift form, when did it form, and how large was it originally?
Rock Units Exposed: Precambrian granite, Triassic Chinle Formation to Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone.
Skills: Mineral identification and classification, contact identification and classification, making descriptions in the field (note-taking), developing a plan for a field study, reading topographic and geologic maps.
Other Questions to Consider: 1) Why is bedding in the sedimentary rocks overlying the Uncompahgre parallel to the upper surface of the Uncompahgre?  2) What is the composition of the large dikes that cut through the Uncompahgre?  3) What is the likely origin of these dikes?  4) Is the Uncompahgre older or younger than the sedimentary rocks overlying it?  5) What happened to all of the rock that must have been eroded from the top of the Uncompahgre since the time that it first appeared?  Is the mineralogy of the overlying and surrounding sedimentary rock similar to that of the Uncompahgre?
Anticipated Outcomes: Students learn to identify basic rock-forming minerals, distinguish between and name sedimentary and igneous rocks, identify geologic contacts, develop a plan for conducting field study, understand the tectonic setting of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, Eagle Basin, San Juan Basin and Paradox Basin, and develop hypotheses about the origin, age and original size of the Uncompahgre Uplift.