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Upcoming "Layer Cake" Workshop

In April 2024, Bruce Barnbaum and I will lead a small group of photographers to some of our favorite locations in the desert around Capitol Reef.

View over Grand Wash from the vicinity of Cassidy Arch. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

Capitol Reef National Park is located at the site of a large monocline — a geologic phenomenon where formerly level rock layers were dramatically tilted and uplifted in response to compressional forces derived from the collisions of tectonic plates. In this desert environment, little, if any, vegetation obscures the geology, so the effects of the uplift and subsequent erosion on the colorful rock are laid bare and provide endless subjects for creative photographers.

Tilted rock layers of the monocline are dramatically exposed in the Waterpocket Fold area of the Park. East of the Park, the easily eroded barren gray shales and colorful clays — mixed with volcanic ash — create sensuous and colorful forms.

The following photographs are examples of places we may visit during the workshop. For more information on the April 2024 workshop, click here.

Bentonite Mounds area, east of Capitol Reef. The colorful banding of clays results from being formed near or under a shallow inland sea that once existed here. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

The Fremont River, here steps in front of the photographer and out of sight, cuts through the monocline of Capitol Reef. Tall grasses and Cottonwood trees grow on a river terrace in front of the vertical wall of Wingate sandstone. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

The western face of the "reef" of Capitol Reef. This view looks east at the eroded faces of several uptilted rock layers. From top to bottom are Navajo sandstone, Kayenta formation, Wingate sandstone, Chinle formation, and Moenkopi layer. The lower layers are more easily eroded than the upper three layers, and their removal undermines the upper layers, causing them to recede. Photo: Donald J. Rommes

Eroded clays and shale east of Capitol Reef. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

Uptilted rock layers in the Waterpocket Fold area. The reddish rock triangles are part of the Carmel Formation. They overlay the yellow-white Navajo sandstone. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

Younger but still dramatically tilted rock layers are exposed east of the Waterpocket Fold. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes



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