The “Holey Tour” planetary geology field trip, Arizona
Published:September 04, 2019
Arizona has a wide variety of geological features relevant to planetary geology. The “Holey Tour” is a 2 d field trip (Phoenix-Flagstaff-Phoenix) that introduces participants to crater forms (hence the “holes” of the tour), including a maar, karst sinkhole, pit crater, cinder-cone craters, a volcano-tectonic depression, and the classic impact structure Meteor Crater. The Apollo astronaut field training site near Flagstaff is examined, which includes a terrain that was artificially generated to simulate a cratered lunar surface. In addition, planetary volcanism is discussed with stops that include a shield volcano, composite cone, silicic dome, and cinder cones; considerations include key variables in volcanic morphology, such as lava composition and rates of effusion. The general geology of Arizona is discussed throughout the trip and includes parts of the Colorado Plateau, the Basin and Range Province, and the Central Highlands (also called the “transition” zone). The trip can be adapted to meet the needs of any group, from secondary school students to established planetary scientists.
This field trip generally follows the GSA guide published in GSA Special Paper 483 (available at https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa):
Greeley, R., 2011, The “Holey Tour” planetary geology field trip, Arizona, in Garry, W.B., and Bleacher, J.E., eds., Analogs for Planetary Exploration: Geological Society of America Special Paper 483, p. 377–391, https://doi.org/10.1130/2011.2483(23).
Figures & Tables
Geologic Excursions in Southwestern North America
This volume, prepared as part of the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Phoenix, includes field guides covering aspects of the spectacular geology of southwestern North America. Field guides tackle the geology of the southern Colorado Plateau, from paleoenvironments of Petrified Forest National Park, to Jurassic sand dunes of southern Utah, to the San Francisco Volcanic Field, to awesome Grand Canyon. Appropriately for the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, one trip visits sites in northern Arizona that helped prepare astronauts for their missions. Several guides address aspects of the Proterozoic to Cenozoic tectonic development of the Transition Zone between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range. Exploring the Basin and Range, guides feature Laramide tectonism and ore deposit development, features associated with large-magnitude Cenozoic extensional tectonism, large Miocene volcanic centers in northwestern Arizona, and tectonism and development of the lower Colorado River. Three field guides explore various aspects of northwestern Mexico, including tectonics and ore deposits of Sonora, fauna and paleoenvironments of Colorado River delta deposits, and volcanism in central Baja California. Finally, a guide analyzes anthropogenic earth fissures that have developed in the Phoenix metropolitan area.