Saturday, January 24, 2009

The most beautiful city in America
Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Arizona Natural History is a story of rocks. The Four Corners area of the US Southwest, comprised of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado is home to the Colorado Plateau, a broad, raised area of land that's important to Sedona, Arizona natural history. The famous colorful geological formations that make Sedona, Arizona one of the top vacation destinations in the area, are carved out of the Colorado Plateau, along with its Red Rock Country and the San Francisco Peaks. The southern edge of the Colorado Plateau is called the Mogollon Rim, which defines the edge of the Sedona area along the north and east of town. Red Rock Country extends from the Mogollon Rim to the Verde Valley, and westward to Sycamore Canyon. Red Rock Country is five hundred square miles of canyons, cliffs, and grassy areas, with famous Oak Creek running through, with its snow melt from Flagstaff. It flows through Oak Creek Canyon, which is a major tourist destination in Sedona, not to be missed if you're anywhere in the vicinity. The towns of Page Springs and Cornville exist along Oak Creek, before it empties into the larger Verde River. With the help of receding oceans and erosion, Oak Creek carved out Oak Creek Canyon over a span of millions of years, beginning long before humans ever set foot in the area. The results millions of years of nature's handiwork are visible and stunning for us to see: butties, spires, and Sedona hiking canyons for which the Sedona, Arizona area is known all over the world.

The Geology of Sedona, Arizona
Sedona Arizona is built on a bed of Redwall limestone which was deposited there 330 million years ago by a shallow tropical sea. Through the limestone runs the water that supplies Sedona Arizona via many aquifers. Where the limestone gets thin and dissolves, sinkholes are formed, some of them giant-sized. One famous sinkhole is Devil's Dining Room. If you've ever seen limestone, you know it's not red, but rather grayish color. Sedona, Arizona's red limestone actually is grayish limestone that's been stained by oxidized iron deposits that trickle down to the limestone. The deposits coat the limestone particles resulting in a rusty color. The Redwall is covered by four layers of more red substance called the Supai Group. The Supai groups is about six hundred feet thick and was laid down about 300 million years ago. Visitors to the Sedona Arizona area today can see exposed Supai group rocks at Wilson Canyon underneath the Midgely Bridge. The next layer, above the Supai group,k is the Hermit formation, laid around 280 million years ago. The Hermit formation is made of mudstone, sandstone, and conglomerate. It's dark red and, as the final layer, you can see it everywhere today. Sedona sits right on top of the Hermit formation.

The Hermit formation isnt' the final layer of earth, however. Remember, Sedona sits on the Hermit formation, but Sedona isn't' the highest thing around. Take a look around and you'll see buttes and spires. These used to be coastal sand dunes and were formed around 270 million years ago. In some places it's seven hundred feet thick. We then have Coconino sandstone, laid about 265 million years ago, followed by a layer added around 262 million years ago, sometimes called Toroweap formation. It's identified by horizontal band of green vegetation on the higher peaks. Next up is the Kaibab formation, made mostly of limestone, put there around 255 million years ago. There are fossils in the Kaibab formation, and it makes up the Mogollon Rim, not to mention the rim of the Grand Canion.

The other significant determiner of geologic formations in the story of Sedona Arizona natural history were lava flows, which started around 15 million years ago. They formed outcroppings and filled fault lines. Today, the major force at work in the canyons and valleys of the Sedona Arizona area is erosion.