Sunday, October 26, 2014

Arizona: Sedona

While Christmas-ing in Phoenix, we took a day trip to beautiful Sedona, 120 miles north.  Sedona is famous for its colorfully striated canyons, mesas, and rock formations, all steeped in hues of red and orange.  At the right time of day, the landscape glows majestically through beautifully filtered sunlight.

Sedona owes its grandeur to the whims of time, geology, and, of course, chemistry.  The area of Sedona was once covered with sand dunes, which solidified over time into sandstone. Rivers flooded with iron-rich water deposited iron in the sandstone; upon exposure to air, iron oxidizes into crimson-red iron oxide.  All of this would remain deep below the surface, buried remnants of geological times past, if not for the effects of uplift and erosion.  Today, layers of sedimentary rock that represent over 300 million years of geological history can be seen in the Sedona area; to a geologist, they provide glimpses long-gone ecosystems and environments, bearing witness to the past.

This sinkhole is called the Devil's Kitchen in Soldier's Pass. The giant rock in the center is called the Grand Piano.

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