A few weeks ago I traveled out to Utah for some research related work. There’s a lab at Brigham Young University that has stores of insects in ethanol which are kept in extremely cold freezers – the perfect condition for preserving DNA. Members of this lab have also gone on numerous trips to different parts of the world and since I want to include broad geographic sampling for my research project, I thought it might be a good idea to visit. I was right and have now added some previously missing taxa to my analyses, which is fabulous! Additionally, I was able to explore around the Salt Lake City/Provo area of Utah and let me tell you – it’s beautiful!
These first two pictures are from an area called the Devil’s Kitchen, which has been referred to as a mini-Bryce Canyon (apparently there are actually 34 geographic features that bear the name “Devil’s Kitchen” according to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names). Those tall, thin spikes of rock that you see are called hoodoos, which are composed of relatively soft rock topped with harder, not as easily eroded stone. The main difference between a hoodoo and a spire is that hoodoos have variable thickness throughout their height which gives them a “totem pole” -esque appearance while spires taper uniformly to the top. Who knows the difference between a hoodoo and a spire? Hoodoo? You do. You’re welcome.