What’s Going On?

Puzzle time! Take a look at these clues (photos I took on a recent mini-vacation) and see if you can figure out what’s going on here. The individual pictures aren’t much, but when you look at them together with the knowledge that all photos were taken within 100 yards of one another, I’m sure you’ll notice that something seems awry!

I’m hoping this will spark some good conversation/debate, and I’ll chime in once in a while with additional hints as needed…so if you haven’t figured it out yet, keep coming back! I may even answer questions if you ask nicely!

First, no clues except that the pictures were all taken facing the same direction (eastward) and – as stated above – are within 100 yards of one another. Need more information, like a general location, to be confident in your answer? Of course you do, but that would be too easy! Have some fun with this puzzle. Put the pieces together and let’s hear some guessing!

Good luck!

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4: Fossils exist within these rocks!


8/31/11 – All photos taken within 100 yards of one another along a relatively straight line.

8/31/11 – All photos are in order, with the exception of photo #4, which was taken between photos 2 and 3 (but these and other fossils can be observed throughout the entire area).

9/2/11 – Don’t be afraid to comment/ask questions!!!

9/2/11 – Try to think about where these pictures may have been taken…rock type and fossils might help with that.

9/2/11 – Jeff’s comment (posted on Sept. 1st) nailed the rock type! Be sure to add your own comments and read my responses for more.

9/3/11 – These pictures were not taken far from home. Sub-hint: You may want to look around other parts of the site to see what this means.

9/3/11 – Topography of the area is relatively flat, with the exception of a large “pit” in which this lake (background) exists. We’re on top of the northern slope at the edge of the depression.

9/4/11 – This happened fairly recently (extremely recently if you use the geologic time scale).

9/5/11 – If you’re reading the comments (which you should), we’ve gotten some great observations…but what caused the vertical beds in picture #3?

9/5/11 – The presence of the lake is important to solving this puzzle!  Namely, why is there a large “pit” in the middle of a flat area?

9/5/11 – What can move large rocks in a relatively short period of time?

No more hints!  I feel like people are getting close, but haven’t quite gotten the big picture…yet.  The solution will be revealed later this week in a separate post so as not to spoil it for those who want to keep guessing.  I’ll also include some background information on the area’s geology and how the processes that have occurred here have affected those living in the region.

Thanks to those who have shared their thoughts!

*UPDATE* – Anxious to see if you were right?  Check out the post, In The Pits to find out!


9 responses to “What’s Going On?

    • Ok, but what caused this convergence? You may be thinking about too long a process. Look at the hints again and try to come up with a guess which explains both the orientations of the bedding planes as well as other features (specifically, the lake).

      Thanks for commenting!

  1. Could it be that the ground is unstable because of the limestone? Water does dissolve it so I would think that if there is more under the soil it could have caused the rocks to sink down a little.

    • Good observation, but not quite. Although, this obviously does happen here (lots of talus on the slopes, and most of the exposed fossils are in pretty poor shape due to exposure to the elements). However, remember that the topography here is flat…so these rocks would’ve had to fall up in order to be in vertical/sub-vertical orientations. Something else must have caused this.

      • You hit the nail on the head with your latest comment, Michael! I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve hid your answer for the time being so that others can keep guessing. Thanks for taking a whack at it, and please keep coming back (and sharing the site with your friends)!

  2. I think the top picture is really interesting, as you can see some fold structures in the lower, right corner. So I think there are a few interpretations of this area.

    But my original thought was that there are horizontal limestone beds (as seen in image 1) and that images 2 and 3 are broken off blocks of rock that have be rotated at different angles and the dip is no longer consistent with that of the country rock.

    Looking forward to more “clues”

    • For having so little to go on, you’re definitely on the right track! Are those really folds in the first picture, or would your original thought also apply?

      • The “folds” could just be collapsed layer. If the outcrop was undermined along that edge, I suppose the layers could have collapsed onto rubble to make it appear in the photo as if it is a fold structure. I don’t see continuous beds to “prove” a fold…I see breaks.

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