Geologic Anomaly or Dinosaur Track?
Capitol Reef National Park
June 2003


Three weeks ago, when Sue and I were hiking in Capitol Reef National Park, Sue noticed an interesting geologic anomaly, which I then proceeded to photograph. There were several of these anomalies. About 18 inches or so in diameter, each was a shallow depression from which radiated various grooves, as below. (And for purposes of identification, each smaller image if clicked opens to a larger version. Click on the large version to return to this page.)
track or anomaly 1
In hindsight, I regret that I didn't take an overall photo of any of the sequences, and there was at least one sequence of three. (In the second photo, below, you can see the beginning of another anomaly in the upper-left-hand corner.)
track or anomaly 2
At the ranger station, I asked about the anomaly and whether anyone knew how it would be formed; however, the ranger on duty wasn't aware of it, and although she knew of another ranger familiar with the area, that person wasn't around at the time.

I didn't think that much of it until the following day when we stopped at the Johnson Farm dinosaur track site, in St. George. (And I'll have more to say and show of that amazing track site later.)

One of the Johnson Farm tracks had radiating lines coming from one footprint. In the photo below, the center toe of the track points to the right.
track or anomaly
If a dinosaur could splash in mud and have a radiating burst of mud around the track, it is possible that those anomalies at Capitol Reef could be tracks. True, the depression doesn't resemble the track in detail; but it is also possible that on wetter ground, a print might not form too well but the mud spray could still be there.

The next photo is another view of what I call the "splash track" but closer to eye level; the center toe is pointing to the upper left.
track or anomaly
Of course, there could be any number of natural explanations for the formation of a depression with radiating lines; however, I'd like to think that the Capitol Reef ones are dinosaur tracks; the geologic age is correct.

Photography note: The photos were taken with a Pentax LX: 1, 2, 4 with the Voigtlander 125mm macro; 3 with the Pentax SMC-A 20mm.  

Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway

Lizards of Capitol Reef   |   A marmot at Capitol Reef

Brycian trees   |   chipmunk   |   Bryce Point

Zion National Park   |   Petrified Forest National Park

Dinosaur National Monument   |   Contact

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