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Ruby's Inn Thrust, Bryce Canyon National Park, Claron Formation


The Ruby’s Inn Thrust, located in the Bryce Canyon region, is an uncharacteristic demonstration of a south-directed shortening episode located near the predominately east-directed contractional structures of the Sevier Orogeny. The Paleocene to Eocene Claron Formation in the footwall of the Ruby’s Inn Thrust contains conjugate shear structures and vertical fault planes with slickensides and slickenlines, indicating complex multidirectional shearing. We determined the north-south extent of a broad shear zone along a traverse immediately west of Bryce Canyon National Park, and shearing intensifies slowly from the main thrust at the northern end of our traverse to a maximum intensity at 13 kilometers south of the thrust, where it then gradually diminishes until an abrupt end approximately 29 kilometers south of the thrust. No evidence of conjugate shear structures in the hanging wall of the thrust was observed. The footwall outcrops adjacent to the thrust and at the southern portion of the traverse contained the structures, but they were more difficult to visually recognize, whereas the structures within the outcrops of the central region were obvious. The conjugate shear structures crosscut bedding and vary from small scale (a few centimeters) to large scale (tens of meters) throughout each outcrop, and are best observed parallel to their east-west strike. The conjugate shear structures contain distinct structural planar surfaces that include very well developed slickensides and slickenlines. This research supports the idea that the deformation structures were a significant contributor in the formation of hoodoos found in the Claron Formation.