City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

August 9, 2017

Table of Essays

Filed under: Other, Uncategorized — canopus56 @ 9:00 pm

About ninety daily entries contain mini-essays on historical events and scientific research related to City Creek Canyon generally or to the topic of the daily narrative, but the existence of these essays is not always apparent from the title of the daily narrative. This separate Table of Essays provides a supplemental table of contents for those materials grouped by subject.


• June 15th: What are the different definitions of the seasons in popular culture, astronomy and ecology?

• November 13th: Cross-quarter holidays occur when the speed of change in the length of the day is minimal.

• March 20th: What is the relative light energy that falls on the canyon on the winter solstice as compared to the other seasons of the year?

• May 13th: How did nearby supernovas and novae influence the evolution of life on Earth?

• May 13th: What is the orbital path of the Solar System through the Milky Way and through the local supercluster of galaxies over the next billion years?

Biology, generally

• November 12th: Trout have nearly 180 degree vision.

• December 10th: What bird and wasp nests are in the canyon?

• December 20th: How many cells are there in one meter rectangular parallelepiped between 4 kilometers below the surface of the Earth, including a human standing on the surface, and to 10 kilometers above the surface?

• December 21st: How do the number of cells in the human brain, the number of neural connections in the human brain, and the number of stars in the visible universe compare?

• March 23rd: How many earthworms live along the first mile of canyon road?


• July 1st: How do plants talk with each other and to insects in order to coordinate plants’ defenses against parasites and herbivores?

• July 2nd: Why do plants emit strong fragrances in the early spring but not in the summer?

• July 3rd: Part I – The Gambel’s oak forest in the canyon and surrounding the Salt Lake Valley are hybrids and are not pure oak stands. They are second generation crosses of Gambel’s oak ad Arizona shrub oak.

• July 4th: In the Salt Lake valley, there are rare hybrid first generation crosses between Gambel’s oak trees and Arizona shrub oak.

• July 5th: The Gambel’s oak forest consist of second generation hybrids of Gambel’s oak trees and Arizona shrub oak.

• July 17th: How do plants transport seeds uphill?

• July 19th: Cottonwood trees in the canyon are, like the Gambel’s oaks, also principally crossed hybrids.

• July 19th: What are the common trees in the canyon and where can example of those trees be found in the city?

• July 21st: What lichens can be found in the canyon?

• October 11th: When do deciduous trees, including Gambel’s oaks loose their leaves?

• October 19th: What edible plants exist in the canyon?

• November 3rd: What are the aerodynamics of helicoptering maple seeds?

• December 6th: Utah lichens cannot be used as an indicator for Salt Lake air pollution.

• February 10th and February 11th: What are characteristics and distribution of a Gambel’s oak tree?

• February 11th and February 12th: In the canyon, what are the hybrid crosses between the Gambel’s oak and Arizona scrub oak?

• February 13th, February 14th and May 9th: Since Gambel’s oaks reproduce asexually, are they essentially immortal like aspen trees?

• March 17th: What kills old, large-diameter Narrowleaf cottonwood trees in the canyon? How are large diameter trees important to the canyon’s ecology?

• May 5th and June 1st: When do various temperate forest tree species leaf-out in the spring during the spring?

• June 5th: Horsetail pollen has the ability to walk.

• June 8th: What percentage of animal species engage in metamorphosis during development?

• June 10th: When did invasive Cheat grass arrive in the Salt Lake foothills? Can the foothills be restored with native grasses?

• June 10th: Does the Fibonacci series appear in whirls of thistles and other plants in the canyon?


• June 23rd: What are the various habitats in the canyon by increasing altitude?

• June 24th: Since 1870, has the Gambel’s oak forest been increasing downslope along the canyon’s foothills?

• July 7th: During 1850 to the 1930, early Utah ranchers in the pursuit of eighty percent profit margins in cattle grazing, transformed Utah’s and the canyon’s native grasslands from native grasses to invasive Cheat grass. How that environmental disaster may have contributed to the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

• December 22nd: What are the trophic ecological levels of the canyon?

• March 3rd to March 6th: What was the natural state of the canyon and Salt Lake valley prior to arrival of the Euro-American colonists in 1848?

• May 10th: How much animal dung do flies remove from the canyon? What is the mass of flies along the first mile of canyon road?


• June 19th: In a modern temperate forest, when did various plants and animals first appear in the geologic record?

• June 30th: Are plants defenseless or are they winning a 300 million year evolutionary war?

• November 5th: One-hundred and forty-five million years ago, how did flying insects and web spinning spiders co-evolve?

• May 30th: Did modern bird groups evolve before or after the KT extinction?

• May 31st: When did butterflies evolve?

• June 2nd: When did flowering plants and trees evolve?


• September 1st: What geologic faults exist in the canyon

• September 8th: What is the Grandview Peak landslide?

• December 24th: What is the geology of natural rock bridge at mile 0.9 and the Red Bridge?

• January 3rd: What is the geology of the canyon between Guardhouse Gate and the natural rock bridge at mile 0.9?

• January 5th: What caused one mile long landslide in the canyon at mile 1.5?

• January 6th: Where are the shorelines of ancient Lake Bonneville in the canyon?

• January 7th: How did the subduction of the Fallaron continental plate under the North American plate between 110 and 35 million years ago create the present day geography of the Great Basin, of Utah, and of the canyon? Where in the canyon are the volcanic breccia deposits from Utah’s volcanic era about 35 million years ago?

• January 9th: What are the geologic strata seen a cross-section of the Wasatch Front Mountain Range between City Creek Canyon on the north and Big Cottonwood Twin Peaks on the south?

• February 15th: What did the canyon look like 12,000 years ago in the Pleistocene and where humans present?

• February 21st: How much of the canyon’s surface consists of dust that fell from outer space? When jogging four miles, how many grams of space dust do you breath?

• March 2nd: What is the Anthropocene?

• March 19th: How City Creek stream transported about 1.5 billion tonnes of sediment (0.008 cubic miles) to the City’s delta over the last 11,000 years.

• May 14th: How did earthquake faults make City Creek Canyon in the north Salt Lake valley salient different from the south Salt Lake valley salient at Traverse Mountain?


• June 18th: How accurate was the first location of the Salt Lake Base Meridian marker? In 1879, How were the modern survey township and range section markers located?

• June 28th: How has the civil and social advancement of women reflected in changes in clothing of female bicyclists?

• July 24th: In 1871, how General Philippe Régis Denis de Keredern de Trobriand averted a massacre in the streets of Salt Lake City.

• July 12th: Do the Mormons have special religious or cultural values that are disposed to preserving nature?

• November 30th: How the Utes and Goshutes taught the Mormon colonists to survive by eating Sego lily roots and thistles.

• January 21st: How Salt Lake City tried and then missed the opportunity to have an Emerald Ring park found around many eastern United States cities.

• March 6th: In December 1848, the colonists form a committee of extermination that kills 3,374 mammals, birds and other wildlife in the valley.

• March 7th: What First Peoples where in the canyon and valley on the arrival of the Euro-American colonists in 1848? What major cultural factors determined the relationship between the Mormons and the valley’s Ute tribal members?

• March 8th: In January 1850, the colonists form a committee of extermination to kill the remaining 150 Ute Tumpanawach band First Peoples in the Salt Lake and Utah valleys. On February 13th, 1850, the colonists massacre those First Peoples at the Battle of Table Mountain, Utah in, what in modern terms, amounted to a war crime.

• March 9th: The economic miracle of the United States and of Utah between 1800 and the 1960s can be explained simply in terms of equity capitalization and not in terms of exceptional abilities.

• March 10th: Did City Creek have enough water to support the initial 5,000 Euro-American colonists of 1847?

• March 11th: When designing Salt Lake City, the Euro-American colonists of 1847 underestimated the flood cycles of City Creek Canyon.

• March 20th: What was the legal basis for Brigham Young’s control of the canyon from 1847 to the 1870s?

• March 21st to March 30th: How was City Creek Canyon exploited for its natural resources?

• March 28th: How did 14,000 deaths from typhoid fever in Salt Lake City during the late nineteenth century drive residents to protect City Creek Canyon as a natural area?

• April 1st: In the 1980s, the City adopts a master plan and zones City Creek Canyon as a protected natural and recreational area.

• April 4th: How did public and business interests fight for City Creek Canyon during the nineteenth and early twentieth century>?

• April 5th to April 7th: Will and how will the canyon be protected from development in the future?

• May 28th: How will Utah’s population change in the future?

• May 29th: When and how was Memory Grove Park constructed in the lower canyon as a memorial to Utah’s war dead?


• July 6th: There may as many as 310 million crickets in the canyon and in the city foothills.

• July 16th: From the 1850s to the early 1900s, the Intermountain West, Utah, and the canyon were subject to Rocky Mountain locust plagues of up to 3.5 trillion insects. Then the locusts mysteriously went extinct.

• May 7th: Butterflies also see in the ultra-violet spectrum.

• May 10th: What are common spring butterflies in the canyon?

• May 19th: What plants host which butterflies in the canyon?


• September 7th: Does Utah’s coyote bounty program increase automobile deaths by reducing coyote predation of deer?

• November 2nd: How do Western porcupine populations fluctuate?

• April 10th: The life-span of mammals is limited by a constant number of heart beats, about one billion for most mammals, but humans uniquely are allocated about 3 billion heartbeats.

• June 3rd: Why do Salt Lake County officials remove all the beavers from the canyon? What is Utah’s population of beavers?

Meteorology, Hydrology, and Climate

• July 18th: Why in the afternoon, the wind in City Creek Canyon blows the wrong way – downhill instead of uphill.

• July 21st: What glaciers existed in the past in the Salt Lake valley canyons, when did they retreat, and what do they tell us about Utah’s future climate?

• February 1st and February 2nd: What SNOTEL weather stations exist in the canyon and what is average annual snowfall in the canyon?

• February 6th: What is the stream flow of City Creek Canyon?

• February 7th: What is the Pacific Quasi-Decadal Oscillation and how does it affect the canyon’s and northern Utah’s weather?

• February 8th: When is the season of heaviest air pollution in the canyon and in Salt Lake City? How does Utah’s and United States’ air pollution levels relate to the de-industrialization of the United States and globalization of United States’ manufacturing capacity?

• February 9th: How has the canyon’s and northern Utah’s climate changed over the last 576 years based on tree ring studies?

• February 24th: What flood and drought cycles have occurred in the canyon and in Salt Lake City since 1847? How do those relate to increases in Salt Lake City’s population growth since 1847?

• February 26th: During air pollution inversions, PM 2.5 air pollution decreases fifty percent from the valley floor to higher elevations along the ridgeline above the Avenues and in the canyon.

• February 27th: Does living at higher altitude Intermountain cities increase the rate of depression as compared to sea level due to decreased air pressure?

• February 28th: Is global warming detectable in local weather station data?

• March 1st: Is the Pacific Quasi-Decadal Oscillation and its sister oscillation, the Atlantic Muti-Decadal Oscillation masking the effects of global climate warming on North American continent?

• March 12th: The downtown has been repeatedly flooded by high-snowpack and cloudbursts since 1847.

• March 13th: Between 1900 and the 1930s, cloudburst storms coupled with overgrazing at the headwaters of the canyons, caused torrential floods in northern Utah’s cities, including Salt Lake City.

• March 14th: What is the Advanced Hydrographic Prediction Service? How will future flooding from City Creek Canyon affect the City’s downtown district?

• March 19th: How City Creek stream transported about 1.5 billion tonnes of sediment (0.008 cubic miles) to the City’s delta over the last 11,000 years.

• April 4th: How does the jet stream over the canyon change over the seasons?

• April 14th: What causes the April to June wind storms in the canyon and in Salt Lake valley?

• May 16th: What is the physics of standing waves in mountain streams?

• May 26th: Will the Great Salt Lake evaporate to become a dry bed and how does this relate to the future of Utah’s migratory bird populations?

• May 26th and May 27th: What studies have modeled the present level and future levels of the Great Salt Lake? What factors will change the lake’s future levels?

• June 1st: How will the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement impact future bird populations?

• June 4th: What is the volume of underground water stored in the Salt Lake salient?


• July 16th: Do birds sing in regional dialects?

• January 14th: How birds sing at frequencies designed to best penetrate sound absorbing leaves.

• May 6th and May 20th: What are the spring birds in the canyon?

• May 6th: How do birds see their iridescent refraction of their feathers in the ultra-violet spectrum? The view that humans see of birds is not what they see of each other.

• May 15th: How many nesting Peregrine falcons are there in Utah?

• May 20th: How has the diversity of birds in the canyon changed since the nineteenth century?

• May 21st: Are populations of Utah migratory and resident birds increasing or decreasing?

• May 22nd: Are regional populations of migratory and resident birds increasing or decreasing?

• May 23rd: Are continental populations of migratory and resident birds increasing or decreasing?

• May 24th: What are the birds of concern in the canyon?

• May 26th: Will the Great Salt Lake evaporate to become a dry bed and how does this relate to the future of Utah’s migratory bird populations?

Philosophy and Nature Experience

• July 13th: Why Henry Thoreau and Wallace Stegner believed that nature needed to be preserved in order to protect our souls and sanity.

• March 18th: How does experiencing nature without digital devices restore the mind’s attention and executive functions? What is Attention Restoration Theory (ART).

• April 8th: How has changing views of competition vs. cooperation changed the United States economy since the early twentieth century?

• April 16th: Does modern technology hinder or enhance our appreciation of nature?

• April 19th to April 22nd: What is the scientific evidence that love and experience of nature an inherent, biological human need?

• April 23rd to April 25th: What is the scientific evidence that experiencing nature and the outdoors restores the body, restores the mind’s executive functions, reduces stress, and reduces crime?

• April 26th: What values do humans express when relating to nature?

• April 27th: How should expert studies citing statistical evidence be rated?

• April 27th: Should preservation of nature be predicated on an inherent, biological need for nature or on simple political will?

• June 6th: How causation is proved in experiments using the logic principles of sufficiency and necessity.

• June 13th: What do nineteenth and early twentieth century maps tell us about what Salt Lake City residents felt about City Creek Canyon?



  1. Hi, I would love to have a copy of the blog sent to me when you’re ready to do that. I’ve really enjoyed this.

    Comment by Andrew Cliburn — August 10, 2017 @ 9:05 pm

  2. I’ll add you to the list. Kurt

    Comment by canopus56 — August 11, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at