Canadian Students Visit Staker Parson’s Gravel Pit in Brigham City

June 7, 2010

Brigham City, UTAH Although they had never heard of let alone visited Brigham City, Utah, one professor and 15 students from Canada won’t soon forget their stop there. The students are studying Geoscience at the University of Calgary and sought out Staker Parson’s gravel pit in Brigham City because the sediment deposits are so large and the original structure is still visible. I’ve never seen anything like it, said Dr. Rudi Meyer, Senior Instructor at the University, when he first saw the deposits in the gravel pit.

Dr. Meyer showed his students firsthand what cross-bedding looks like: horizontal units of rock that often ripple into dunes. Cross-bedding can form in any environment in which a fluid flows over mobile material. Dr. Meyer explained that thousands of years ago, Lake Bonneville covered the land which now holds the gravel pit. As the lake level drastically dropped in the following years, the base level also dropped and huge piles of sediment were left behind. But Dr. Meyer explained that the deposits of material were not “mass flow deposits, meaning they did not occur from one large event. The deposits are a result of different events over the past centuries and as a result, the grains are lined up and very organized.

Pat Clark, Environmental Advisor for Staker Parson, took the students and their professor through the gravel pit and explained that the pit has been used since late 1800. The first settlers in the area recognized the value of the resources in the gravel pit and hauled material out using horses and wagons.

The students took pictures, asked questions, and climbed back into the van where they will continue their 2-week field trip through Utah, visiting Moab, Ferron, and ending up in Green River, Colorado. It was worth our drive, said Dr. Meyer. The gravel operation here is completely unique because of its size and because the original structure is still in place.