Idaho

 

Geological State Symbols Across America           Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures


Connecticut State Geological Symbols
Type
Symbol
Year Established
State Gem
Star Garnet
1967
State Fossil
Hagerman Horse Fossil
1988

 

State Gem: Star Garnet

 


State Fossil: Hagerman Horse Fossil


 

References

 


Geology of Idaho's National Parks

Through Pictures

(at least the one's I have been to)

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Visited in 2015

 

Our last stop on our tour of southern Idaho national parks was the City of Rocks National Reserve. At the City of Rocks, it is possible to travel through the whole park in essentially one loop, however you must leave the park on the western edge to get between the northern and southern roads of the park. We decided to take the southern road first, following the available Automobile Tour, then loop around to the northern road to finish the park.

City of Rocks National Reserve

It had been a long trip, so I ended up not getting out of the car for this one. But snapped the picture as I drove by regardless.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

During our trip we followed the "Automobile Tour" and my wife had read about each of the stops along the way. This is Circle Creek Basin. The main part of the rocks are from a 28 million year old granitic dome named the Almo Pluton, which is the lighter colored granitic rocks. The darker brownish-gray rocks are the Green Creek Complex (a complex mainly consisting of granite, granitic gneiss, and schist), which is 2-3 billion years old and are some of the oldest rocks in North America.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Treasure rock, where we let our daughter get out for the first time to "go play on the rocks".

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

View of the most prominent feature of the park, the Twin Sisters and Pinnacle Pass (on the left half of the photo). This is the pass through which the California Trail followed. The left twin is made up of Green Creek Complex, and the right is Almo Pluton.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Side view of the Twin Sisters focusing on the Green Creek Complex sister in the foreground. The other twin is actually directly behind the formation with only the tip of it peaking over the center of the photo. The outcrop on the left half in the background is not one of the twins (I think).

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Dike through the Almo Pluton.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

This was the last picture before having to leave the park on the western edge to complete our loop on the northern road. You can see the natural jointing of the rocks in the background lining up with the eroded arch in the foreground. 

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

A rock formation lovingly called the Bread Loaves showing more jointing in the granitic pluton. This is the first formation after we came back into the park on our loop.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

The northern part of the part had a lot more rock formations than the southern part and in general was much prettier. If you can only do part of the park, I recommend this part. 

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Here is Window Arch, which is probably the best hike in the park. Especially for people with a 5 year old who can't walk that far.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

The pathway up to Window Arch, through the Almo Pluton.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Some nice jointing in the Window Arch area.

 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Back along the road, on our way out looking into the City of Rocks, where it indeed looks like a bunch of "buildings" sticking up out of the ground.


Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Visited in 2012

 

We had taken a trip to visit one of the nearby parks in southern Idaho.

Craters of the Moon

My standard park sign picture, but this time with the little one.

 

Craters of the Moon

Here is a lava tube entrance. Craters of the Moon was created as the North American plate slid of over the Yellowstone Hotspot. A hotspot is a volcano that stays in one place while the plates slide over it, like Hawaii. At Craters we can see the result of that volcanic activity by the remnants of lava flows, lava tubes, and other volcanic features.

 

Craters of the Moon

This one shows a pretty good view of the landscape that has many trees and shrubs but is still pretty barren.

 

Craters of the Moon

A lot of dead trees hanging about.

 

Craters of the Moon

Within the region remains a lot of extinct volcanoes including this cinder cone. A cinder cone is a volcano that is created by the eruption of lava blocks that eventually pile up to create this rather steep sided pile of rock. He we are climbing up the largest of the cinder cones, Inferno Cone.


Craters of the Moon

Panoramic view from the top of Inferno Cone.

 

Craters of the Moon

View from Inferno Cone of a couple of smaller cinder cones.


Craters of the Moon

Some nice aa, splatter lava.

 

Craters of the Moon

 View of a lava flow showing large chunks of volcanic rocks.

 

Craters of the Moon

Another view of the same lava flow, this time a little further up. You can see a nice transition from the pahoehoe to the aa style lava.

 

Craters of the Moon

 A lava tube is formed when flowing lava starts to solidify when it is contact with the air, eventually forming a crust on the lava flow. The crust continues to build up as the lava continues to flow through the tube, eventually forming this open space within the lava flow. Here I am entering one of the lava tubes.

 

Craters of the Moon

Some nice ribbon lava. I really love the fine cracks that run perpendicular to the ribbon folds.

 

Craters of the Moon

View looking out of one of the smaller lava tubes, Dewdrop Cave.

 

Craters of the Moon

Within the largest lava tube in the park, Indian Tunnel. Several places along the length of the tube, the ceiling has caved in giving visitors a nice walk even without the need of a headlamp.


Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

Visited in 2015

 

As we continued our tour through southern Idaho, I really wanted to visit Hagerman, not the least because I am a paleontologist. Well, let me just get this out of the way first off, I saw no fossil localities, unlike at Dinosaur NM or Fossil Butte NM. This is more of a preserve to protect the fossils but they don't have the infrastructure (yet?) to allow the public access to see the actual dig sites. Hopefully that will come along sometime in the future. But as a paleontological National Park, this is the weakest one I have been to.

Hagerman Fossil Beds

Me and my Gummy Bear doing our sign thing.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

 When we were planning on going to the park, I read everywhere that we had to go to the Visitor's Center first. Well this is the first thing that we noticed upon walking up to the door.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

So as most any paleontologist is wont to do, we started digging to see what we could find.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

Inside they also had a nice display full of fossils and other geological specimens for the kids to play with and analyze.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

And they also had some of the more common mammal fossils.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

Along with fossils found within the park too, like this lovely horse.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

And some elephantine specimens

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

After leaving the Visitor's Center there is one road with a couple of view spot's along it. This one describes the changing landscape from the Pliocene, when the fossils are from, to today.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

There are also remnants of the Oregon Trail, as seen here with the trail ruts.

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

And here you can see them really well on the left side of the photo where the road bends. 

 

Hagerman Fossil Beds

The Snake River Plain, where Hagerman is located, is known for its volcanic landscape. As the North American Plate traveled westward, the plate was dragged across the Yellowstone Hot Spot. The hot spot melted a swath through the Idaho countryside that left a significant mark on the landscape. The remnants of the old shield volcanoes and lava flows are pervasive throughout the region, as is described in this display.


Minidoka National Historic Site

Visited in 2015

 

Minidoka was the first stop on our tour of southern Idaho national parks. The Minidoka National Historic Site was the place of one of the former Japanese "internment camps" that was erected during World War II. Although, not a geological park there are some geological elements to the park.

Minidoka NHS

My lovely daughter presenting our NP sign.

 

Minidoka NHS

Some background information on the Relocation Center.

 

Minidoka NHS

One of the few remaining original structures. The building materials for these structures was almost exclusively the local vesicular basalt (basalt with a lot of holes in it). The basalt was formed in the Snake River Plane when the Yellowstone Hotspot (volcano) was located within Idaho. The hot spot hasn't actually moved, but the North American plate has moved westward across the hot spot, creating this volcanic valley through Idaho, now known as the Snake River Plain.  

 

Minidoka NHS

A close up view of one of the vesicular basalt blocks.

 

Minidoka NHS

View of the Internment Camp fence with the nearby Clover Creek running alongside it. Clover Creek is a tributary of the Snake River. The residents of the internment camp created a pool out of the water from the creek since the creek itself was too fast to allow for safe swimming.

 

Minidoka NHS

Panoramic shot of  the park and the region along one of the park trails. Mostly flat within the Snake River plain. Footprints of the former buildings are visible along the way.