J. David Rogers'
Overview of PhD Research
Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park lies along the Waterpocket Fold, a great monoclinal flexure shown here dipping to the right.  The massive Jurassic age Navajo Sandstone forms the most resistant structures and slot canyons.

My PhD research topic was formulated over a period of years, beginning with an extended tour of the Colorado Plateau with my buddy Steve Tetreault during the summer of 1973.  We pondered the reason for the pictured overhang in the walls of Capitol Gorge in Capitol Reef National Park, pictured behind me.

This view shows the enormous chasm of Capitol Gorge cut through the Navajo Sandstone.  I noticed thick sheet joints, similar to what I had learned to climb in the granites of Yosemite National Park in California.

Early in my field work I began to discern that discrete variances in weathering had a profound impact on the sandstone’s tensile strength, and hence, the development of anomalous openings and cavities, such as the one shown here at Capitol Reef.

The back country of Capitol Reef contained spectacular vistas like this one, with pseudo horns and cirques reminiscent of glaciated terrain.  We seldom saw any tourists in the back country.

Questions or comments on this page?
E-mail Dr. J David Rogers at rogersda@mst.edu.