Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Belt Super Group.

There's certain geologic themes that keep coming back to me in life...I think this happens with most geologists: You learn about some rock unit or some fossil, or something, and every 3-10 years or so, you end up re-visiting it in some way or another. This has happened to me at least 5-6 times.

For Example, Consider The Belt Supergroup - an interesting sedimentary sequence of Precambrian rocks that form the spectacular mountains that make up Glacier national park.

Here's my experience with these rocks:

-I learned about these rocks as an undergraduate in college, in my structural geology class. while talking about thrust faulting

-I first visited these rocks as an undergraduate at my field camp, and was blown away by 1. how awesome the scenery of this part of the world is, and 2. by how fucking beautifully exposed these rocks are.

You can actually see full fault-bend folds in the sides of the mountains, folded sedimentary beds, and to top it all off, the color of the rocks is gorgeous. The Sedimentary structures are really awesome too, ball and pillow, flame structures, mudcracks, salt casts, etc...

As you drive north on the Going to the Sun Highway, There's a place where you can see the Mountains on your left, and the start of the plains are on your right. The topographic break near the base of the mountains is the lewis thrust, and everything above it are the glorious rocks of the Belt Supergroup. Don't forget about the rocks beneath the topographic break, they are the footwall rocks and display some terrific footwall deformation (folds and faults!)

Here's some of the rocks of the Mount Shields Formation (I think)... if you look close you'll see my friend Erik in the back of the picture.

Some footwall deformation, my friend Ivan in the picture there has his left hand curled in the shape of a fault bend fold, and his right hand is the fold, just to the left of his hands you can see the same structure in the outcrop. Or I should say, you could see the structure in the outcrop if it wasn't such a shitty old fucking picture.

Geologic Field Camp lecture at St. Mary Lake...awesome.

On a Slightly unrelated note, I was the single best rock-hammer-tree-climber in my field camp group. I excelled at it. Although I really sucked at trundling, the hammer throw, and the cliff drop.

-I forgot about these rocks until about a year after I first visited them, when I went on a backpacking trip with friends. I didn't think about the rocks as much on that trip because 1 week before the trip I broke my ankle skateboarding and hiked much of the waterton international peace park on ibuprofen and vicodin. I stopped only to pretend to take artsy pictures and act like I give a shit about gary snyder's poetry....

My Friend Paul checking out the awesomeness of sedimentary structures in the belt Supergroup...a set of rocks that even attracts english teachers. go figure.

My friend Erik taking a picture of some of the sweet sweet sedimentary structures (mudcracks and salt casts in this case...). If you look at my left ankle (I'm the guy in the red cap), you'll see the brace on my broken ankle.

My roommate at the time told my girlfriend (now wife), that my broken ankle was actually caused by me and him "Wrestling in the tub....again!" He has 2 kids and lives in Houston, TX I guess I won in the end.

-2 days ago at work DK was arguing with me about fossils. Right now I’m doing a Paleontological sensitivity study for a site to determine the potential for any vertebrate or other “highly sensitive” fossils in an area. So I was classifying sedimentary rocks, and he was saying “oh yeah, show me a sedimentary layer that DOESN’T have fossils in it”

So me, in my pompous pretention for lying to maintain my ego, say “hey dude, the fucking belt supergroup…” In reality there have been stromatolites found in the belt supergroup, but I didn’t mention that to DK.

If you ever, EVER have the chance to go to Glacier National Park, or to Waterton, STOP and look at all the rocks. better yet, get a good geology book and read up on them before you get, better yet, take a field geology class that lets you map there. thats how you win the game.

Shit rules. Fuck all the haters of the belt supergroup.


Erik said...


Those were the days! Hiking and taking pictures of rocks n shit! FUCKING GEOLOGY!!! YEAH!

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