One of the most beautiful landscapes
on the planet, this area is a region of fairly flat-lying sedimentary rock formations
which has been gently but quickly (geologically speaking!) uplifted over the last few
Now with elevations ranging from about 7000 feet (2300 meters) to over 10,000 feet
(3200 meters), it is a fantastically colorful region of sandstone and shale pinnacles,
arches, and canyons cut deep into the remains of great Mesozoic deserts, river basins, and
seashores where dinosaurs once roamed.
Everyone is familiar with scenes of the Grand Canyon, exhibiting what we
geologists call "layer-cake" geology -- all those rock beds stacked one on
top of another. That look is absent in the Phoenix area, and across southern
Arizona, because we are in a different geological province, the Basin and Range.
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