Science Discovery Series Episode1 : From Sandstone to Canyons
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Science Discovery Series Episode1 : From Sandstone to Canyons

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Episode 1: Sandstone: From Sand Dunes to Canyons. ...

Episode 1: Sandstone: From Sand Dunes to Canyons.

This is the story of how giant sand dunes of an ancient sahara-like desert in Utah were lithified into sandstone, preserved dinosaur tracks, bones, and trees, and then were eroded into the spectacular canyons we see today.

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  • This 2000 foot deep canyon was carved by the tiny Paria river into various layers of sedimentary rock, including sandstones, siltstones, and clay layers.


  • 1. Science Discovery Series
    Olympus High School
    Jeff Taylor
    Science Instructor
  • 2. Who is Jeff Taylor?
    Wadi Gazelle, Sinai, Egypt
    All Pictures In This Presentation Taken By Jeff Taylor
  • 3. Mr. Taylor
    My goal is to know something about everything
  • 4. Always looking for unique and interesting places to help explain scientific concepts to my students.
    I always want to know WHY?
  • 5. Jeff TaylorOlympus High School
    All Science at Olympus HS
    Health and Physical Education too
    Contact Information
    Family: Wife Linda and 21-month daughter Hilina
    Detailing our travels and hikes on our blog:
    Living out of our 22 ft trailer and spending the
    next 6 months in Desert Southwest.
  • 6. Episode 1Sandstone: From Sand Dunes to Canyons
    Paria Canyon, AZ
    The Story of Lithification
  • 7. Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    Sandstone are layers of sand-sized particles that are cemented together.
    Sandstone can form from sand dunes, in rivers, lake shores, or former ocean beaches.
  • 8. Sand Dunes
    Great Sand Dunes NP, CO
    Sand Dunes form where sand particles are blown in the wind and then pile up in a place where the wind slows down.
    In this case, the Rocky Mountains block the winds.
  • 9. Here, winds slow when they hit those mountains, dropping off the sand
    That’s me 500 feet above the desert floor
    Kelso Dunes, Mojave N Pres, CA
  • 10. Great Sand Dunes NP, CO
    Over 700 feet tall of pure sand!
    Climbing the Highest Dunes in North America
  • 11. The view from the top!This was Utah 75 Million Years Ago
    Great Sand Dunes NP, CO
    Sand dunes up to 2000 feet deep!
  • 12. Lithification
    Great Sand Dunes NP, CO
    Lithification means turning sand to stone.
    As rain trickles through the sand, it cements the pieces together to form stone
    Think of an example of lithification you might have created or seen!
  • 13. Cements are Dissolved Minerals
    Minerals dissolved in water accumulate where water evaporates.
    As the crystals form, they bind sand grains together like cement.
    The particular minerals involved decides the cement strength.
  • 14. Navajo Sandstone, Big Water, UT
    Fossilized Sand Dunes
    Can be determined by their cross-bedding.
    Cross-bedding are alternating layers that are tilted against each other.
  • 15. Cross-Bedding
    The angled beds are the result of sand slide down the sides of the dune
    The angles change when wind direction changes and buries old dunes with new sand
    Kelso Dunes, Mojave N Pres, CA
  • 16. Beverly Dunes, Vantage, WA
    Vegetation can also stabilize dunes
    Roots hold water and stabilize the dunes.
    Then sand blows over and buries the dune, preserving it
  • 17. The Dive, Grand Staircase-Escalante, UT
    Navajo Sandstone
    These fossilized dunes formed in an ancient Sahara-like Desert some 75 million years ago
  • 18. Today
  • 19. How Was The World Different?
  • 20. 90 Million Years Ago
    Area of Navajo Sandstone
  • 21. 75 Million Years Ago
    Area of Navajo Sandstone
  • 22. 65 Million Years Ago
    Area of Navajo Sandstone
  • 23. On The Search For Dinosaur Tracks
  • 24. Dinosaur Tracks
    Grand-Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    Click Check Mark If You See It
  • 25. Theropod
    Dinosaurs stepped in wet sand and then sand blew over and filled the impression
  • 26. More Dinosaur Tracks
  • 27.
  • 28. Dinosaur National Monument
  • 29. Dinosaur Bones
    Dinosaur NM, CO
  • 30. Bones Left in Place By National Park Service
  • 31. Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    Fossilized Palm Trees
  • 32. Here Is How It Could Happen
    Buried Palms in Sudan, Image courtesy of the UN Environmental Programme
  • 33. Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, UT
    Petrified Wood
    Fallen trees that were buried by sand ended up being preserved as these petrified tree trunks.
  • 34. Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, UT
    Water Deposited Sandstones
    Sandstone layers that are completely horizontal are usually formed at the bottom of lakes or the ocean.
  • 35. Banff NP, Alberta
    Water Deposition
    When sediment flowing down a river meet a lake, they drop out and settle to the bottom to form a flat layer.
  • 36. Lake Sediments
    Lake Powell, UT
    Here, changing lake levels leave horizontal beds of sediments.
    When buried, they will compact into stone.
  • 37. Half Moon Bay, CA
    Ocean Beaches
  • 38. Wahweap Creek, Glen Canyon NRA, UT
    River Deposited Sandstones
  • 39. Ripple Marks
    Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, UT
    Ripple marks are a sign on an ancient stream or lake shore
  • 40. Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    Red Sandstones
    Stained by iron oxide (rust) minerals
  • 41. Blue Sandstones Stained by Copper
    Blue Basin, John Day NM, OR
  • 42. Erosion
    Canyonlands NP, UT
    Rivers, rain, ice, and wind erode the sandstone and free the sand to form dunes once again.
  • 43. Zion Canyon
    2000 feet deep sand dunes cut by the river
  • 44. Dinosaur NM, CO
    Does anyone want to guess the rate of erosion?
    Green River cutting into sand stone
  • 45. Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    Soft Sandstones
    Some sandstones are so weakly cemented, that they “melt” when it rains and fall apart in your hands.
  • 46. Wahweap Hoodoos, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    When more resistant rock protects weaker rock below, columns can form.
    When the cap falls off, the towers “melt” away.
  • 47. Buckskin Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT
    Flash floods carve deep narrow canyons into sandstone.
    Some storms will flood this canyon with water 80 feet high!
    Slot Canyons
  • 48. Slot Canyon
    Spooky Gulch, Grand-Staircase Escalante NM, UT
  • 49. Wind erosion is primarily responsible for natural arches.
    Cobra Arch, Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, UT