Sandstone Butte, Monument Valley

Sandstone Butte, Monument Valley

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Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Monument Valley is part of the Colorado Plateau is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah. The floor is largely Cutler Red siltstone or its sand 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 colour from manganese oxide. The buttes are clearly stratified, with three principal layers. The lowest layer is Organ Rock shale, the middle de Chelly sandstone and the top layer is Moenkopi shale capped by Shinarump siltstone. The valley includes large stone structures famous as the location of many western movies. Between 1948 and 1967, the southern extent of the Monument Upwarp was mined for uranium, which occurs in scattered areas of the Shinarump siltstone; vanadium and copper are associated with uranium in some deposits.

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Keywords: arizona, butte, cinema, colorado plateau, copper, deposits, desert, geology, geololgic history, iron, iron oxide, manganese, manganese oxide, meander, mining, monument valley, red, river, sandstone, shale, siltstone, uranium, utah, valley, vanadium

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