May 15. 2006
Tom woke us up at about 4:30 for the sunrise. It was absolutely beautiful. Dr. Anna and everybody went crazy with their cameras.
After breakfast Tom gave us a small tour on the history of the Monument Valley.
Than we were on our way to Antelope Canyon Arizona.
"Antelope Canyon is a so called Corkscrew Canyon is a slot canyon and was formed over many years as rushing water eroded the Navajo sandstone. The canyon was cut and scoured by water and wind and the striations of sandstone have become almost incandescent. This phenomenon has created "hollows" in the canyon and eventually they form a patina. A slot is a series of these convoluted hollows connected by narrow passages of varying width and length. The cave is only ¼ mile long and only a few feet wide at some of the narrow defiles and bends. The canyon is very dark except for the sunlight that filters down through the top plateau onto the curved sandstone walls." http://www.photoscene.com/sberlin/scenicinfo.html
In Antelope, we had a couple of fights with the photographers, and took a little while to put in our complaints to the tribe peoples we started toward the Grand Canyon. It took us a bit longer to get there because of all the jewelry stops we had to do.
First sites of the Grand Canyon
"The Grand Canyon area exposes one of the most complete sequences of rocks, representing a period of nearly 2 billion years. The major sedimentary rock layers exposed in the park range in age from 200 million to nearly 2 billion years old. Most were deposited in warm, shallow seas and near ancient, long-gone sea shores. Both marine and terrestrial sediments are represented, including fossilized sand dunes. Uplift of the region started about 75 million years ago in the Laramide Orogeny. Accelerated uplift started 17 million years ago when the Colorado Plateau (on which the area is located) were being formed. In total these layers were uplifted an estimated 10,000 feet (3000 m) which enabled the ancestral Colorado River to cut its channel into the four plateaus that constitute this area. The canyon itself however did not start to form until 5.3 million years ago when the Gulf of California opened up and thus lowered the river's base level (its lowest point) from that of large inland lakes to sea level. Wetter climates brought upon by ice ages starting 2 million years ago greatly increased excavation of the Grand Canyon, which was nearly as deep as it is now by 1.2 million years ago. Also about 2 million years ago volcanic activity started to deposit ash and lava over the area. At least 13 large lava flows dammed the Colorado River, forming huge lakes that were up to 2000 feet (600 m) deep and 100 miles (160 km) long. The nearly 40 identified rock layers and 14 major unconformities (gaps in the geologic record) of the Grand Canyon form one of the most studied sequences of rocks in the world." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology_of_the_Grand_Canyon_area