Stop 6: Massive Sandstone

A park ranger stands near an area where stratified sandstone is seen above massive sandstone.
Above the ranger's neck the sandstone is stratified, below it is massive.

NPS/Ittai Levine

Quick Facts
41.835848, -103.696283

Scenic View/Photo Spot

Just after the major bend in the trail, note the volcanic ash lens about 13 feet above the trail. Two different types of sandstone can be seen here. About 7 feet above the trail the sandstone is stratified and layering can be seen. Below that point the sandstone is "massive", meaning it lacks evidence of layering. The minerology (chemistry, crystal structure and physical properties) and grain size of the two units is similar. Geologists believe that the lack of depositional sedimentary structures here is due to either a much slower sedimentation rate and intense bioturbation (disturbance of sediments by animals), or the trapping of sediment by vegetation so that laminations were never present. 

To get to the next stop on the tour, head down the trail to the area between the second and third of the northeast facing switchbacks on the trail. If you take a close look at the rocks in this area, you may find examples of crystals in the rock. 

Scotts Bluff National Monument

Last updated: December 15, 2020