The Monument/Chinle Valleys Project:

Martin Hanna and John Baldwin (Theology)

The Monument/Chinle Valleys Project: The Usefulness of Lemniscate Landforms as a Signature of Catastrophic Processes

This project pursues the question of the usefulness of lemniscate landforms (landforms whose top surface is shaped like a tear-drop) as a signature of catastrophic processes. The team has identified and done preliminary research on 175 lemniscatic landforms (See Appendix B) in Chinle Valley, Arizona. The preliminary description of the data presented in this project proposal goes a long way in demonstrating similarity (see Appendix A for a few images showing similarity) between these Arizona landforms and those of eastern Washington and Mars (Bryant, 2012b). In both of the latter instances (and others reported in the literature) plausible mechanisms (glacial dam collapse, fluid outflow from the subsurface, etc.) have been established (Baker, 2009; Bretz, 1923; Pardee, 1946).

However, the landforms that we are targeting occur outside the known areas of influence of these mechanisms (Bryant, 2012b) Therefore, the landforms studied by this project represent an opportunity either to show that Chinle Valley landforms are not diagnostic of catastrophic flow, or that previously unidentified catastrophic mechanisms have operated in the region (ibid.). Either way, the findings of the project will enrich our knowledge of earth history.

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