Broken Cloud Mesa @ Monument Valley

Colorful morning light and clouds scattered across the buttes of Monument valley in mid October. 20 minutes earlier the sky was completely grey. Nature turns to it’s own clock and is always ready to surprise. I spent the previous day traveling through a snow storm in Navajo lands and a day later it was 80 degrees on top of cedar mesa. Lol. The Southwest is so impulsive in mid Fall showing off one moment and still the next. What a classic place full of mysterious silence.



Monument Valley is a well known rock formation in the Colorado Plateau characterized by large sandstone buttes and broken plains, the largest butte reaching some 1,000′ above the valley floor. It is located on the Arizona–Utah border near the Four Corners area within the range of the Navajo Nation Reservation. The area is part of the Colorado Plateau. The elevation of the valley floor ranges from 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,500 to 1,800 m) above sea level. The floor is largely siltstone of the Cutler Group, or sand derived from it, deposited by the meandering rivers that carved the valley. The valley’s vivid red color comes from iron oxide exposed in the weathered siltstone. The darker, blue-gray rocks in the valley get their color from manganese oxide.

The buttes are clearly stratified, with three principal layers. The lowest layer is the Organ Rock Shale, the middle is de Chelly Sandstone, and the top layer is the Moenkopi Formation capped by Shinarump Conglomerate. The valley includes large stone structures including the famed “Eye of the Sun”. Between 1945 and 1967, the southern extent of the Monument Upwarp was mined for uranium, which occurs in scattered areas of the Shinarump Conglomerate; vanadium and copper are associated with uranium in some deposits.


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