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Shiprock, Volcanic Plug, Utah.

Shiprock, Volcanic Plug, Utah.

C009/7046

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Credit

DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Shiprock is a rock formation rising nearly 1, 583 feet above the high-desert plain in New Mexico, USA. It is located in the center of the Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Puebloan civilization, a prehistoric Native American culture of the Southwest US often referred to as the Anasazi. Shiprock is composed of fractured volcanic breccia and black dikes of igneous rock called "minette", visible in the foreground. It is the erosional remnant of the throat of a volcano, and the volcanic breccia formed in a diatreme. The exposed rock probably was originally formed 2, 500–3000 feet below the Earth's surface, but it was exposed after millions of years of erosion. Wall-like sheets of minette, known as dikes, radiate away from the central formation. Radiometric age determinations of the minette establish that these volcanic rocks solidified about 27 million years ago.

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