Photo Gallery of
      Some of My Favorite Geological Localities in the American Southwest II

All photos by Jim Reynolds

Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Colorado is located at the northern end of the Río Grande Rift in a pocket of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The mountains comprise the front range of the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico and southern Colorado. Sand blown across the San Luis Desert west of the area came to rest against the western flank of the range.

More than 75 square miles of sand dunes are present at Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The highest dunes are more the 700 feet high, the tallest in North America.

The Anasazi cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado are the most impressive pre-Columbian ruins in the United States.

Shiprock, near Farmington, New Mexico, is a large volcanic neck. It is one of the holiest sites to the Navajo people. A series of dikes radiate outward from the central edifice. It was undoubtedly a place of reverence to the Anasazi culture as well.

The Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon National Historic Park, New Mexico are impressive in their magnitude. The number and size of the ruins suggest that this was the center of the Anasazi culture during much of the time that these people inhabited the area.

Barringer Crater, Arizona is a mile-wide meteor crater that formed when a meteor about 200-250 feet in diameter smashed into Earth at high velocity about 50,000 years ago. The crater is privately owned.

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, Arizona is one of the geological wonders of the world. The river has downcut more than a mile from the nearly planar surface of the Colorado Plateau (seen on the horizon). The rocks record much of the history of the area during the Archean and Proterozoic Eons as well as the Paleozoic Era. The linear canyon in the center of this photo is the trace of the Bright Angel Fault.

The deepest part of the canyon, known as Granite Gorge, displays granites and schists of Archean age. Proterozoic strata of the Grand Canyon Series are not visible in this image. Paleozoic strata start at the top of Granite Gorge and continue to the top of the canyon. They represent several marine transgressions and regressions that swept over the coastal regions of the world during the Paleozoic.

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Last updated February 21, 2006