Using Ground Penetrating Radar to Image Paleotopography and Structural Controls at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Kane County, Utah
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes (CPSD) are one of the largest dune fields in the Great Basin–Colorado Plateau Transition Zone. The dune field rests on Navajo Sandstone, and is bisected by the Sevier Normal Fault, which also forms the bedrock escarpment along the eastern boundary of the lower dune field (LDF). Limited ground penetrating radar (GPR) collected previously, as well as recent ground-based LiDAR data and geomorphic observations, suggest that underlying bedrock is topographically lower in the center of the LDF than on its margins. In order to image the dune-bedrock interface and any structures contained within the bedrock, including buried faults, 50-MHz and 100-MHz GPR antennae with 400-V transmitters were used to conduct over 25 transects, totaling several kilometers, across the LDF. We recorded radar reflections at depths of up to 30 m within the bedrock beneath the modern dunes. Outcrops and/or shallow boreholes along some transects provide ground truth for dune-bedrock contacts. The resulting radar profiles suggest at least two antithetic fault zones within the LDF that, in places, appear to control the location of smaller dunes. Further examination of the relationship between these fault zones and dune forms, as imaged with LiDAR, will help inform whether or not these structural controls affect variation in dune type and patterning across the LDF, and may also explain why the CPSD exist in this location.