Fifteen of USU Eastern’s physical geology students have been learning about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks this semester under the leadership of assistant professor Michelle Fleck.
Carbon County has plenty of examples of sedimentary rocks, but very few igneous and essentially no metamorphic rocks. “We travelled to Big Cottonwood Canyon to see some exposures of 700 million year old metamorphic slates and quartzites, along with some 300 million year old marbles that are exposed near Brighton ski resort,” said Dr. Fleck.
“In Little Cottonwood Canyon, we saw some outcrops of granitic rocks — this is where the rocks were quarried for the LDS Salt Lake Temple. We had lunch at the G.K. Gilbert Geologic View Park, from which we had great views of the notorious Wasatch Fault and some ice-age glacial deposits at the mouth of the canyon.
“After the Wasatch canyons, we drove across the valley to see Kennecott Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine, one of the largest and most profitable open-pit mining operations in the world.”