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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Pacific Section of AAPG


The Geologic Transition, High Plateaus to Great Basin - A Symposium and Field Guide (The Mackin Volume), 2001
Pages 423-423

Herbert E. Gregory, Pioneer Geologist of the Colorado Plateau: Abstract

S. H. Heath1


Herbert E. Gregory, Yale Geologist, spent over four decades studying the geology of the Colorado Plateau. He began his studies in the southwest in 1907 on the Navajo Indian Reservation in northern Arizona and ended it with his studies of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in 1951, less than a year before his death. Between these two studies he spent considerable time in southeastern Utah and on the Kaiparowits Plateau in southern Utah. He produced five classic United States Geological Survey Professional Papers: #93, Geology of the Navajo Country: A Reconnaissance of Parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, 1917; #164, with Raymond C. Moore, The Kaiparowits: A Geographic Reconnaissance of Parts of Utah and Arizona, 1931; #188, The San Juan Country: A Geographic and Geologic Reconnaissance of Southeastern Utah, 1938; #220, Geology and Geography of the Zion Park Region: Utah and Arizona, 1950; and # 226, The Geology and Geography of the Paunsagunt Region, Utah: A Survey of Parts of Garfield and Kane Counties, 1951. With such expertise, it is little wonder that the International Geological Congress which was held in the United States in 1933, invited Gregory to write the guidebook for the excursions in the Colorado Plateau region. The guide is still an important first course for geologists new to the Colorado Plateau. In 1919, Gregory wrote his wife about the plateau country: “Gee! How I love those red rocks and sands and dry heat.”

Gregory’s greatest contribution to geology came with his studies of the Kaiparowits region. He gave the world there first view of this remote and isolated region. This poster presentation will outline Gregory’s pioneering effort into this relatively unstudied region of the Colorado Plateau. He made his first reconnaissance into the Kaiparowits in 1915. This survey study was followed by extensive fieldwork in 1918 and 1922, and another short expedition to the region in 1924. Today the Kaiparowits Plateau is the centerpiece of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. For the student of the monument, a knowledge of the work of Gregory is necessary. Gregory felt the Kaiparowits was the centerpiece of the geology of the Colorado Plateau. At the Fifty Mile Point on the Kaiparowits he wrote in his field notes: “profound straight walled meandering canyons, and Navajo Mountain is a gorgeous spectacle.” To his wife he exclaimed: “For scenery, the Grand Canyon must take second place.”

In addition to featuring Gregory’s work in the Kaiparowits, a chronology of his life and work and a short bibliography will be presented. Herbert E. Gregory was one of the great pioneers of geology on the Colorado Plateau and his story needs to be told.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Southern Utah University

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