Wasatch Fault, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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These photos were taken on a Geological Society of America field trip, October 15, 2005, run by Ron Bruhn, Christopher DuRoss, Ronald Harris and William Lund, supplemented by others taken a few days later.

Little Cottonwood Canyon is a marvelous glacial trough that exits through the Wasatch front. Adjacent to the front, the Wasatch Fault (green, above) offsets glacial moraines. A graben along the fault is shown in red. A geological overlook (yellow) offers views.

Wasatch Fault, Utah Left and below: distant views of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The smaller glacial tough to the right (south) is Bells Canyon.
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Wasatch Fault, Utah Bells Canyon is a spectacular glacial trough but much smaller than Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Wasatch Fault, Utah Left and below: looking up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
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Wasatch Fault, Utah The moraine between Little Cottonwood and Bells Canyon. There's no corresponding moraine north (left) of Little Cottonwood Canyon, probably because this is a medial moraine and there is no corresponding valley on the other side of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Wasatch Fault, Utah The moraine, showing a fault offset (far right).
Wasatch Fault, Utah There are actually several fault offsets in the moraine.
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Wasatch Fault, Utah The best part (the Wasatch is a low-angle normal fault) is that fault offset has actually created a graben in the moraine.

How many places can you actually see a cross-section of a graben?

How many places can you see one above you?

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Wasatch Fault, Utah Approaching the fault scarps on Utah 209.
Wasatch Fault, Utah The fault offset at highway level.
Wasatch Fault, Utah Looking north along the graben. Note the houses in the graben.
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Wasatch Fault, Utah 
Wasatch Fault, Utah The Wasatch front north of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Wasatch Fault, Utah Left and below: looking north along the Wasatch Front.
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Wasatch Fault, Utah Looking south along the Wasatch Front, showing some of its famous faceted spurs.

Reference

Bruhn, R. L., DuRoss, C. B., Harris, R. A., and Lund, W. R., 2005; Neotectonics and Paleoseismology of the Wasatch Fault, Utah, in Pedersen, J. and Dehler, C. M., eds., Interior Western United States: Geological Society of America Field Guide number 6, p. 231-250, doi: 10.1130/2005.fld006(11).


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Created 18 November 2005, Last Update 01 July 2012

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