The Colorado Plateau known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic and desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. This province covers an area of 336, 700 km2 within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico and eastern Utah, northern Arizona. About 90% of the area is drained by the Colorado River and its main tributaries: the Green, San Juan, Little Colorado. Most of the remainder of the plateau is drained by its tributaries; the Colorado Plateau is made up of high desert, with scattered areas of forests. In the southwest corner of the Colorado Plateau lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Much of the Plateau's landscape is related, in both appearance and geologic history, to the Grand Canyon; the nickname "Red Rock Country" suggests the brightly colored rock left bare to the view by dryness and erosion. Domes, fins, river narrows, natural bridges, slot canyons are only some of the additional features typical of the Plateau.
The Colorado Plateau has the greatest concentration of U. S. National Park Service units in the country outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Among its nine National Parks are Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest. Among its 18 National Monuments are Bears Ears, Rainbow Bridge, Hovenweep, Sunset Crater Volcano, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges, Canyons of the Ancients, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the Colorado National Monument; this province is bounded by the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, by the Uinta Mountains and Wasatch Mountains branches of the Rockies in northern and central Utah. It is bounded by the Rio Grande Rift, Mogollon Rim and the Basin and Range Province. Isolated ranges of the Southern Rocky Mountains such as the San Juan Mountains in Colorado and the La Sal Mountains in Utah intermix into the central and southern parts of the Colorado Plateau, it is composed of six sections: Uinta Basin Section High Plateaus Section Grand Canyon Section Canyon Lands Section Navajo Section Datil SectionAs the name implies, the High Plateaus Section is, on average, the highest section.
North-south trending normal faults that include the Hurricane, Grand Wash, Paunsaugunt separate the section's component plateaus. This fault pattern is caused by the tensional forces pulling apart the adjacent Basin and Range province to the west, making this section transitional. Occupying the southeast corner of the Colorado Plateau is the Datil Section. Thick sequences of mid-Tertiary to late-Cenozoic-aged lava covers this section. Development of the province has in large part been influenced by structural features in its oldest rocks. Part of the Wasatch Line and its various faults form the western edge of the province. Faults that run parallel to the Wasatch Fault that lies along the Wasatch Range form the boundaries between the plateaus in the High Plateaus Section; the Uinta Basin, Uncompahgre Uplift, the Paradox Basin were created by movement along structural weaknesses in the region's oldest rock. In Utah, the province includes several higher fault-separated plateaus: Awapa Plateau Aquarius Plateau Kaiparowits Plateau Markagunt Plateau Paunsaugunt Plateau Sevier Plateau Fishlake Plateau Pavant Plateau Gunnison Plateau and the Tavaputs Plateau.
Some sources include the Tushar Mountain Plateau as part of the Colorado Plateau, but others do not. The flat-lying sedimentary rock units that make up these plateaus are found in component plateaus that are between 4,900 to 11,000 feet above sea level. A supersequence of these rocks is exposed in the various cliffs and canyons that make up the Grand Staircase. Younger east-west trending escarpments of the Grand Staircase extend north of the Grand Canyon and are named for their color: Chocolate Cliffs, Vermillion Cliffs, White Cliffs, Gray Cliffs, the Pink Cliffs. Within these rocks are abundant mineral resources that include uranium, coal and natural gas. Study of the area's unusually clear geologic history has advanced that science. A rain shadow from the Sierra Nevada far to the west and the many ranges of the Basin and Range means that the Colorado Plateau receives six to sixteen inches of annual precipitation. Higher areas receive more precipitation and are covered in forests of pine and spruce.
Though it can be said that the Plateau centers on the Four Corners, Black Mesa in northern Arizona is much closer to the east-west, north-south midpoint of the Plateau Province. Lying southeast of Glen Canyon and southwest of Monument Valley at the north end of the Hopi Reservation, this remote coal-laden highland has about half of the Colorado Plateau's acreage north of it, half south of it, half west of it, half east of it; the Ancestral Puebloan People lived in the region from 2000 to 700 years ago. A party from Santa Fe led by Fathers Dominguez and Escalante, unsuccessfully seeking an overland route to California, made a five-month out-and-back trip through much of the Plateau in 1776-1777. Despite having lost one arm in the American Civil War, U. S. Army Major and geologist John Wesley Powell explored the area in 1869 and 1872. Using wooden oak boats and small groups of men the Powell Geographic Expedition charted this unknown region of the United States for the federal government. Construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s and the Glen Canyon Dam in the 1960s changed the character of the Colorado River.
Reduced sediment load changed its color from reddish brown t
Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments. Most sandstone is composed of quartz or feldspar because they are the most resistant minerals to weathering processes at the Earth's surface, as seen in Bowen's reaction series. Like uncemented sand, sandstone may be any color due to impurities within the minerals, but the most common colors are tan, yellow, grey, pink and black. Since sandstone beds form visible cliffs and other topographic features, certain colors of sandstone have been identified with certain regions. Rock formations that are composed of sandstone allow the percolation of water and other fluids and are porous enough to store large quantities, making them valuable aquifers and petroleum reservoirs. Fine-grained aquifers, such as sandstones, are better able to filter out pollutants from the surface than are rocks with cracks and crevices, such as limestone or other rocks fractured by seismic activity. Quartz-bearing sandstone can be changed into quartzite through metamorphism related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts.
Sandstones are clastic in origin. They are formed from cemented grains that may either be fragments of a pre-existing rock or be mono-minerallic crystals; the cements binding these grains together are calcite and silica. Grain sizes in sands are defined within the range of 0.0625 mm to 2 mm. Clays and sediments with smaller grain sizes not visible with the naked eye, including siltstones and shales, are called argillaceous sediments; the formation of sandstone involves two principal stages. First, a layer or layers of sand accumulates as the result of sedimentation, either from water or from air. Sedimentation occurs by the sand settling out from suspension. Once it has accumulated, the sand becomes sandstone when it is compacted by the pressure of overlying deposits and cemented by the precipitation of minerals within the pore spaces between sand grains; the most common cementing materials are silica and calcium carbonate, which are derived either from dissolution or from alteration of the sand after it was buried.
Colors will be tan or yellow. A predominant additional colourant in the southwestern United States is iron oxide, which imparts reddish tints ranging from pink to dark red, with additional manganese imparting a purplish hue. Red sandstones are seen in the Southwest and West of Britain, as well as central Europe and Mongolia; the regularity of the latter favours use as a source for masonry, either as a primary building material or as a facing stone, over other forms of construction. The environment where it is deposited is crucial in determining the characteristics of the resulting sandstone, which, in finer detail, include its grain size and composition and, in more general detail, include the rock geometry and sedimentary structures. Principal environments of deposition may be split between terrestrial and marine, as illustrated by the following broad groupings: Terrestrial environmentsRivers Alluvial fans Glacial outwash Lakes Deserts Marine environmentsDeltas Beach and shoreface sands Tidal flats Offshore bars and sand waves Storm deposits Turbidites Framework grains are sand-sized detrital fragments that make up the bulk of a sandstone.
These grains can be classified into several different categories based on their mineral composition: Quartz framework grains are the dominant minerals in most clastic sedimentary rocks. These physical properties allow the quartz grains to survive multiple recycling events, while allowing the grains to display some degree of rounding. Quartz grains evolve from plutonic rock, which are felsic in origin and from older sandstones that have been recycled. Feldspathic framework grains are the second most abundant mineral in sandstones. Feldspar can be divided into two smaller subdivisions: plagioclase feldspars; the different types of feldspar can be distinguished under a petrographic microscope. Below is a description of the different types of feldspar. Alkali feldspar is a group of minerals in which the chemical composition of the mineral can range from KAlSi3O8 to NaAlSi3O8, this represents a complete solid solution. Plagioclase feldspar is a complex group of solid solution minerals that range in composition from NaAlSi3O8 to CaAl2Si2O8.
Lithic framework grains are pieces of ancient source rock that have yet to weather away to individual mineral grains, called lithic fragments or clasts. Lithic fragments can be any fine-grained or coarse-grained igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rock, although the most common lithic fragments found in sedimentary rocks are clasts of volcanic rocks. Accessory minerals are all other mineral grains in a sandstone. Common accessory minerals include micas, olivine and corundum. Many of these accessory grains are more dense than the silicates that
A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form and alignment that have arisen from the same cause an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are a feature of most terrestrial planets. Mountain ranges are segmented by highlands or mountain passes and valleys. Individual mountains within the same mountain range do not have the same geologic structure or petrology, they may be a mix of different orogenic expressions and terranes, for example thrust sheets, uplifted blocks, fold mountains, volcanic landforms resulting in a variety of rock types. Most geologically young mountain ranges on the Earth's land surface are associated with either the Pacific Ring of Fire or the Alpide Belt.
The Pacific Ring of Fire includes the Andes of South America, extends through the North American Cordillera along the Pacific Coast, the Aleutian Range, on through Kamchatka, Taiwan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, to New Zealand. The Andes is 7,000 kilometres long and is considered the world's longest mountain system; the Alpide belt includes Indonesia and Southeast Asia, through the Himalaya, Caucasus Mountains, Balkan Mountains fold mountain range, the Alps, ends in the Spanish mountains and the Atlas Mountains. The belt includes other European and Asian mountain ranges; the Himalayas contain the highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, 8,848 metres high and traverses the border between China and Nepal. Mountain ranges outside these two systems include the Arctic Cordillera, the Urals, the Appalachians, the Scandinavian Mountains, the Great Dividing Range, the Altai Mountains and the Hijaz Mountains. If the definition of a mountain range is stretched to include underwater mountains the Ocean Ridges form the longest continuous mountain system on Earth, with a length of 65,000 kilometres.
The mountain systems of the earth are characterized by a tree structure, where mountain ranges can contain sub-ranges. The sub-range relationship is expressed as a parent-child relationship. For example, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Blue Ridge Mountains are sub-ranges of the Appalachian Mountains. Equivalently, the Appalachians are the parent of the White Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains, the White Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains are children of the Appalachians; the parent-child expression extends to the sub-ranges themselves: the Sandwich Range and the Presidential Range are children of the White Mountains, while the Presidential Range is parent to the Northern Presidential Range and Southern Presidential Range. The position of mountains influences climate, such as snow; when air masses move up and over mountains, the air cools producing orographic precipitation. As the air descends on the leeward side, it warms again and is drier, having been stripped of much of its moisture.
A rain shadow will affect the leeward side of a range. Mountain ranges are subjected to erosional forces which work to tear them down; the basins adjacent to an eroding mountain range are filled with sediments which are buried and turned into sedimentary rock. Erosion is at work while the mountains are being uplifted until the mountains are reduced to low hills and plains; the early Cenozoic uplift of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado provides an example. As the uplift was occurring some 10,000 feet of Mesozoic sedimentary strata were removed by erosion over the core of the mountain range and spread as sand and clays across the Great Plains to the east; this mass of rock was removed as the range was undergoing uplift. The removal of such a mass from the core of the range most caused further uplift as the region adjusted isostatically in response to the removed weight. Rivers are traditionally believed to be the principal cause of mountain range erosion, by cutting into bedrock and transporting sediment.
Computer simulation has shown that as mountain belts change from tectonically active to inactive, the rate of erosion drops because there are fewer abrasive particles in the water and fewer landslides. Mountains on other planets and natural satellites of the Solar System are isolated and formed by processes such as impacts, though there are examples of mountain ranges somewhat similar to those on Earth. Saturn's moon Titan and Pluto, in particular exhibit large mountain ranges in chains composed of ices rather than rock. Examples include the Mithrim Montes and Doom Mons on Titan, Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes on Pluto; some terrestrial planets other than Earth exhibit rocky mountain ranges, such as Maxwell Montes on Venus taller than any on Earth and Tartarus Montes on Mars, Jupiter's moon Io has mountain ranges formed from tectonic processes including Boösaule Montes, Dorian Montes, Hi'iaka Montes and Euboea Montes. Peakbagger Ranges Home Page Bivouac.com
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, the natural hazards that threaten it; the organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility; the USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS employs 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia; the USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, Menlo Park, California. The current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is "science for a changing world." The agency's previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary, was "Earth Science in the Public Service." Since 2012, the USGS science focus is directed at six topical "Mission Areas", namely Climate and Land Use Change, Core Science Systems, Ecosystems and Minerals and Environmental Health, Natural Hazards, Water.
In December 2012, the USGS split the Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health Mission Area resulting in seven topical Mission Areas, with the two new areas being: Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health. Administratively, it is divided into six Regional Units. Other specific programs include: Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide; the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location and magnitude of global earthquakes. The USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System; the USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, the public, both domestic and worldwide, about significant earthquakes. It maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research, it conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards. USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast.
As of 2005, the agency is working to create a National Volcano Early Warning System by improving the instrumentation monitoring the 169 volcanoes in U. S. territory and by establishing methods for measuring the relative threats posed at each site. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time; the USGS collaborates with Canadian and Mexican government scientists, along with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to produce the North American Environmental Atlas, used to depict and track environmental issues for a continental perspective. The USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center implements partner-driven science to improve understanding of past and present land use change, develops relevant climate and land use forecasts, identifies lands and communities that are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of change from the local to global scale.
Since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. In collaboration with Stanford University, the USGS operates the USGS-Stanford Ion Microprobe Laboratory, a world-class analytical facility for U--Pb geochronology and trace element analyses of minerals and other earth materials. USGS operates a number of water related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program and National Water-Quality Assessment Program. USGS Water data is publicly available from their National Water Information System database; the USGS operates the National Wildlife Health Center, whose mission is "to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues." It is the agency responsible for surveillance of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in the United States.
The USGS runs 17 biological research centers in the United States, including the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The USGS is investigating collaboration with the social networking site Twitter to allow for more rapid construction of ShakeMaps; the USGS produces several national series of topographic maps which vary in scale and extent, with some wide gaps in coverage, notably the complete absence of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps or their equivalent. The largest and best-known topographic series is the 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 scale, quadrangle, a non-metric scale unique to the United States. Each of these maps covers an area bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude spaced 7.5 minutes apart. Nearly 57,000 individual maps in this series cover the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, U. S. territories, areas of Alaska near Anchorage and Prudhoe Bay. The area covered by each map varies with the latitude of its represented location due to convergence of the meridians. At lower latitudes, near 30° north, a 7.5-minute quadrangle contains an area of about 64 square miles.
At 49° north latitude, 49 square miles are contained within a quadrangle of that size. As a unique non-metric map scale, the 1:24,000 scale requires a separate and specialized romer scale for pl
Balanced Rock is one of the most popular features of Arches National Park, situated in Grand County, United States. Balanced Rock is located next at about 9.2 miles from the park entrance. It is one of only a few prominent features visible from the road; the total height of Balanced Rock is 128 feet, with the balancing rock rising 55 feet above the base. This rock is the largest of its kind in the park, weighing the same as an icebreaker ship or 27 blue whales. Balanced Rock had a smaller sibling named "Chip-Off-the-Old-Block" that collapsed in the winter of 1975-1976, the eventual fate of this feature as well. There is a short loop trail leading around the base of the rock. Balanced Rock Balancing rock Arches National Park Balanced Rock page Media related to Balanced Rock at Wikimedia Commons
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep object. It is done for locomotion and competition, in trades that rely on it, in emergency rescue and military operations, it is done indoors and out, on man-made structures. Guides, such as professional mountain guides, have been an essential element of pursuing the sport in the natural environment, remain so today. Climbing activities include: Bouldering: Ascending boulders or small outcrops with climbing shoes and a chalk bag or bucket. Instead of using a safety rope from above, injury is avoided using a crash pad and a human spotter Buildering: Ascending the exterior skeletons of buildings without protective equipment. Canyoneering: Climbing along canyons for sport or recreation. Chalk climbing: Ascending chalk cliffs uses some of the same techniques as ice climbing. Competition climbing: A formal, competitive sport of recent origins practiced on artificial walls that resemble natural formations.
The International Federation of Sport Climbing is the official organization governing competition rock climbing worldwide and is recognized by the IOC and GAISF and is a member of the International World Games Association. The UIAA is the official organization governing competition ice climbing worldwide. Competition climbing has three major disciplines: Lead and Speed. Free Climbing: a form of rock climbing in which the climber uses climbing equipment such as ropes and other means of climbing protection, but only to protect against injury during falls and not to assist progress. Ice climbing: Ascending ice or hard snow formations using special equipment ice axes and crampons. Techniques of protecting the climber are similar to those of rock climbing, with protective devices adapted to frozen conditions. Indoor climbing: Top roping, lead climbing, bouldering artificial walls with bolted holds in a climbing gym. Ladder climbing: Climbing ladders for exercise; this may involve climbing up and down the underside of a ladder, or along a horizontally aligned ladder or'monkey bars'.
The ladder may be climbed going backwards, or sideways. Lumberjack tree-trimming and competitive tree-trunk or pole climbing for speed using spikes and belts. Mallakhamba: A traditional Indian sport which combines climbing a pole or rope with the performance of aerial Yoga and gymnastics. Mountaineering: Ascending mountains for sport or recreation, it involves rock and/or ice climbing. Pole climbing: Climbing poles and masts without equipment. Rock climbing: Ascending rock formations using climbing shoes and a chalk bag. Equipment such as ropes, nuts and camming devices are employed, either as a safeguard or for artificial aid. Rope access: Industrial climbing abseiling, as an alternative to scaffolding for short works on exposed structures. Rope climbing: Climbing a short, thick rope for speed. Not to be confused with roped climbing, as in rock or ice climbing. Scrambling which includes easy rock climbing, is considered part of hillwalking. Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, bolts, for protection.
Top roping: Ascending a rock climbing route protected by a rope anchored at the top and protected by a belayer below Traditional climbing is a form of climbing without fixed anchors and bolts. Climbers place removable protection such as camming devices and other passive and active protection that holds the rope to the rock in the event of a fall and/or when weighted by a climber. Solo climbing: Solo climbing or soloing is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone, without somebody belaying them; when free soloing, an error is fatal as no belay systems are being used. Soloing can be self-belayed, hence minimizing the risks. Tree climbing: Recreationally ascending trees using ropes and other protective equipment. A tower climber is a professional who climbs broadcasting or telecommunication towers or masts for maintenance or repair. Rock and tree climbing all utilize ropes for safety or aid. Pole climbing and rope climbing were among the first exercises to be included in the origins of modern gymnastics in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
Aid climbing Clean climbing Climbing clubs Climbing wall Climbing equipment Climbing organisations Fall factor List of climbers – notable rock and ice climbers List of climbing topics Glossary of climbing terms Glossary of knots common in climbing Outdoor education Outdoor activity Rock climbing Running belay Parkour Scrambling Solo climbing Speed climbing Climbing at Curlie
A normal route or normal way is the most used route for ascending and descending a mountain peak. It is the simplest route. In the Alps, routes are classed in the following ways, based on their waymarking and upkeep: Footpaths Hiking trails Mountain trails Alpine routes Climbing routes and High Alpine routes in combined rock and ice terrain, graded by difficultySometimes the normal route is not the easiest ascent to the summit, but just the one, most used. There may be technically easier variations; this is the case on the Watzmannfrau, the Hochkalter and Mount Everest. There may be many reasons these easier options are less well-used: the simplest route is less well known than the normal route; the technically easiest route is more arduous than another and is therefore used on the descent. The technically easiest route carries a much higher risk of e.g. rockfalls or avalanche and is therefore avoided in favour of a more difficult route. The technically easier route requires a complicated or long approach march, or all access may be banned via one country.
The term tourist route may sometimes be applied by those wishing to suggest that other routes up a mountain are somehow more "worthy". This belittling of the "normal route" therefore maintains a distinction between those perceiving themselves as serious mountaineers who disparage the incursion of tourist climbers into their domain