Seismic reflection study of Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Kanbur Z., Louie J., Chavez-Perez S., Plank G., Morey D.

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-PLANETS, vol.105, no.E4, pp.9489-9505, 2000 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 105 Issue: E4
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Doi Number: 10.1029/1999je001131
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.9489-9505
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


The origin of Upheaval Dome, in Canyonlands National Park of southeastern Utah, has been a topic of controversy among geologists and planetary scientists. The structure has long been thought to have been created by salt diapirism from the underlying Paradox Formation. Recent studies have suggested that impact could have formed the dome. To test the various hypotheses, we acquired, processed, and interpreted seismic reflection data within and adjacent to the structure. Both conventionally stacked and prestack-migrated images show <100 m relief in the Paradox Formation, contrary to salt diapirism hypotheses. Further, we have identified features within the images typical of impact structures, such as listric normal faults having displacements toward the center of the dome. Deformation occurs in two depth ranges, with the faulting that created the central uplift appearing only above the Hermosa Formation, in the upper 800 m of the structure. The images also suggest limited fracturing of the Hermosa and salt flow in the Paradox Formation, perhaps due to gravitational relaxation of the crater form. Our image of a nearly flat top of the Paradox salt strongly favors an impact origin for Upheaval Dome.