Canine Topography

May 28, 2014


Photographer: Mike Zawaski
Summary Authors: Mike Zawaski; Jackie Phillips

This well-preserved set of coyote tracks is a great example of inverted topography. These tracks were initially made by a coyote or domestic dog when it stepped in fresh snow creating a depression by compressing the snow under its feet. Recent, strong winds have scoured away much of the new snow leaving behind only the most durable features. You can even see claw marks in the two steps just to the left and ahead of the ski tip.

Inverted topography is a geologic term used to describe a feature that would normally occur in a low-lying area, but is instead a topographic highpoint. For example, if lava flows into a river valley lined with softer rock, the river, should it return, would flow around the lava eroding the softer side rock to leave only a ridge of the lava rock. A great example of this is North and South Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado. Photo taken on January 26, 2014.

Photo Details: Camera: Olympus E-PL1; Aperture: f/11: Exposure: 1/640 sec.; ISO-100; Focal length: 27mm.