Michael A. Stecker
mastecker@gmail.com


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Monument Valley Home Page
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (29,817 acres, elevation of 5,564 feet) is not a valley at all, but rather a wide flat, landscape interrupted by colorful red buttes and spires rising hundreds of feet into the air. These are the last remnants of the sedimentary rock layers that once covered the entire region. Monument Valley is contained entirely within the Navajo reservation, occupying both Utah and Arizona. This is one of the most remarkable, beautiful and famous landscapes in the world, early recognized by Hollywood as a stunning background for western films. A painting of this region is majestically portrayed as the sole mural in the Smithsonian Space and Science Museum.

Geology of Monument Valley
Monument Valley sits atop the crest of a wide anticline, the Monument Upwarp. These beautiful layers of sandstone were formed from deposits of an ancient sea covering much of western USA. The siltstone and shale were deposited here in ancient times and were buried for millennia until, like the rest of the Colorado Plateau, it was uplifted and folded. The reddish hues in the sand and rock of the valley are due to iron oxide; the black streaks of desert varnish are manganese oxide. Eroded by wind and rain, soft red shale undermines the stronger, vertically-jointed sandstone, producing the many buttes and pinnacles. The buttes and pinnacles of Monument Valley are composed of Permian-age (270 million years ago) Cedar Mesa Sandstone. The slopes at their bases are usually composed of Halgaito shale, while many of the spires have cap rocks of red Organ Rock shale, also from the Permian period.  Volcanic activity subsequently occurred in areas surrounding the Uplift, releasing molten rock from underneath. The only remnants of the many volcanoes are the hardened cores whose scattered silhouettes tower in the distance (Agathla Peak and Alhambra Rock).

YouTube "America -- Country version" at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-yZRmiYYuA#t=179.685479

Slide Show
(This is a Windows Executable .exe file requiring the MS Windows operating system to run.  Will not run with Apple/Mac operating system)
Monument Valley
(../ss/monval-n-exec.exe)

 

Monument Valley Photos
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