Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Britt Fiscus
Dugway Geodes 
On October tenth and eleventh I went on a field trip with the Snow College Geology FieldStudies class. One of the stops we made on the tenth was to the Dugway Geode Beds in Juab County. We drove a couple of miles into the beds to find a promising pit, then started searching and digging for geodes. It was a very successful trip and we all took home several geodes. Finding these beautiful crystal-filled rocks made me curious about how they form.
I found out that they form in two different ways. They can form in sedimentary rocks when organic matter such as a tree root, rots away and leaves a cavity in the ground. If the cavity is still preserved in the ground after the sediment becomes rock, it has the potential to become a geode. (Baggaley, 2012) To become a geode, water has to find its way into the cavity of the rock to deposit the minerals that are necessary to create crystals. After millions of years of mineral rich ground water running through tiny cracks in the rock, crystals will form in the cavity.
The other way that geodes can form is in volcanic rock. Cooling lava or magma often contains gases that are trapped in bubbles.  After the lava solidifies into a rock the process is the same as sedimentary geodes.  The geodes formed from water – in this case water that was hydrothermal (heated by the magma in the area) and so it contained a lot of dissolved silica.  This silica rich water seeped into holes left by the gases and precipitated quartz.  This is the most common type of crystal found in geodes. They were formed in volcanic rock called rhyolite. According to they were formed in rhyolite that formed 6 to 8 million years ago.  Then, around 32,000 to 14,000 years ago Lake Bonneville covered western Utah. The lake’s activity eroded the rhyolite that the geodes are found in and redeposited it as lake sediment where we find them today.(Ege,

Baggaley, Kate. "Where Do Geodes Come From?" Scienceline. 20 Nov. 2012. ​​Web. 23 Oct. 2014
Ege, Carl. "Dugway Geodes - Utah Geological Survey." Dugway Geodes - Utah ​​Geological Survey. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. 


An Unexpected Find

Starting October 10th and ending on the 11th the GEO 2500 class went on a two day geology marathon full of traveling on rough dirt roads, hiking, rock hunting and finding. We also learned about some of the major geological events that created the variety of terrain we encountered. We left Ephraim at approximately 8:45 am on the 10th and headed westward to Topaz Mountain. Roughly 116 miles later we arrived at Topaz Mountain. Almost immediately we put on our safety goggles, grabbed hammers and chisels and got to work looking for topaz. We had a variety of success finding topaz, and while looking closely at some grayish white rhyolite I stumbled upon a small black crystal called pseudobrookite. 

Pseudobrookite, which is Greek for false brookite, is a rare oxide mineral which usually forms by pneumatolytic processes or by reactions with xenoliths in titanium-rich andesite, rhyolite, basalt, according to According to and, pneumatolytic means formed or forming by hot vapors or super heated liquids under pressure, the process by which rocks are altered or minerals and ores are formed by the action of vapors given off by magma.  Pseudobrookite is often found with hematite, magnetite, bixbyite, ilmenite, enstatite-ferrosilite, tridymite, quartz, sanidine and topaz. The topaz at Topaz Mountain formed in vugs located in a lava flow, and the pseudobrookite formed in the same rhyolite as the topaz in a similar process.   Pseudobrookite , which has the chemical formula Fe2TiO5, often has either a brownish-black, a reddish brown, or a black color. It is opaque with a metallic luster (   According to
Pseudobrookite crystals are skinny elongate prisms with striations (look like grooves) and belong to the orthorhombic crystal system.  

The pseudobrookite was an unexpected find since we were looking for quartz and topaz. We got home late that night tired but successful in finding multiple crystals, geodes, and trilobites. The next day we left later in the day and headed to eastern Utah. We managed to find heaps of gypsum after a long day of traveling, which was very exciting. The two day road trip was a very enjoyable adventure. 

Information gathered from