Saturday, January 24, 2009

Red Desert- missing link to origin of the Grand Canyon?

Arizona Geological Survey geologist Charles Ferguson has the lead-off chapter in a new book, Red Desert, History of a Place, edited by A. E. Proulx and published by University of Texas Press. During research for this project, Charles uncovered inconsistencies regarding the Plio-Pleistocene history of the Red Desert that that may provide an important missing link to explain how the Colorado River suddenly and rapidly incised the Grand Canyon approximately 5 million years ago.

From the publisher's write-up:

"A vast expanse of rock formations, sand dunes, and sagebrush in central and southwest Wyoming, the little-known Red Desert is one of the last undeveloped landscapes in the United States, as well as one of the most endangered.

To capture and preserve what makes the Red Desert both valuable and scientifically and historically interesting, writer Annie Proulx and photographer Martin Stupich enlisted a team of scientists and scholars to join them in exploring the Red Desert through many disciplines—geology, hydrology, paleontology, ornithology, zoology, entomology, botany, climatology, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, and history."

[Thanks to the UA Geosciences Earthworks newsletter by Norm Meader for the opening paragraph above.]

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