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The Wave
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The Wave

Credit: Greg Bulla
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TheWave_1600pixels.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Arizona-Utah border region is home to spectacular canyons (think, the Grand Canyon) and rock formations. “The Wave” in Arizona is geological history book artistically displayed.

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At the Wave, swirling sandstone of different colors create nature’s art. The layers and patterns also reveal the story of the geological history of the region. To decipher that history, we need to look at the events in sequence. First, the materials were deposited. Second, they were lithified. Third, the Colorado Plateau was uplifted so that the rocks were exposed. Fourth, the region was carved into the Wave.

Credit: Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%22The_Wave%22.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Erosion creates thin ridges as seen in this cross-bedding of sandstone [Figure2]

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With the links below, learn more about the Wave. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is the name, age and type of rock in the rock formation that makes up the Wave?
  2. Describe the two-step process that carved the two intersecting U-shaped troughs that make up the Wave.
  3. What is differential erosion and what does it look like at the Wave?
  4. What evidence is there that dinosaurs played a role in the appearance of the sandstone?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Greg Bulla; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TheWave_1600pixels.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%22The_Wave%22.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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