Montezuma Well is easy to find down in the Verde Valley–it’s located right at the intersection of geology and biology. The blue-green pool–120 yards wide, cupped in a perfectly round sinkhole–is startling in the middle of a mesquite desert.
What can a small, inconspicuous shrub tell us about climate change in the Southwest? That’s the question researchers are asking about blackbrush.
Most people don’t take a second glance at this compact, slow-growing shrub bristling with spiny, gray-black branches. Yet it grows across several million acres in the Mojave Desert and up onto the Colorado Plateau, sometimes in nearly pure stands. You can see extensive swaths in Arches and Canyonlands, and over the Tonto Plateau in Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon has always attracted people who fall deeply in love with the landscape and its lessons. One of those who made the place his life’s work was Edwin Dinwiddie McKee.
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1906, McKee was influenced by his scoutmaster Francois Matthes, an early Grand Canyon mapmaker. A summer paleontology internship at the canyon was all it took to ignite young Eddie’s life-long love affair with geology.
Here’s some of that grey rock, it’s coming down the channel – your first clue. It’s all about discovery …..
Twenty-five years ago, I parked near Black Mesa, up in northeast Arizona. On no particular schedule and with no real destination, I just started walking--because I knew I would discover something. I wandered up an unnamed canyon with walls of sheer Navajo Sandstone.
In the depths of the Great Depression, the nation’s unemployment stood at 25 percent. With people hungry and desperate for jobs, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in March 1933 creating the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC gave jobs to single men 18 to 25 years old, with most of their thirty-dollar-a-month paychecks returned to their families.
Don't try the Kelly Grade in a rainstorm. When this steep stretch of the Smoky Mountain Road is wet, its mud surface is impossibly slick. Stay in granny gear, keep a tight grip on the wheel, and hope that nobody else is coming the other way. There's no guardrail and that cliff next to your tires drops hundreds of feet straight down. The shale gives way to sandstone when the road straightens out on top of the Kaiparowits Plateau.
Every month this fall, KNAU has been taking you to places on the Colorado Plateau. They may be places you know, they may be places you've only heard of. It's a series we call Land Lines and today we're visiting Monument Valley. People come from all over the world to see this valley, one of the most evocative landscapes in the southwest. But at least one rock feature doesn't quite fit the mold of the mesas and buttes. In today's Land Lines, Rose Houk and Michael Collier explore the origins of El Capitan.
S.P. Crater--Today on Land Lines, Michael Collier and Rose Houk take us to S.P. Crater near Flagstaff. Early cowboys gave this perfectly shaped cinder cone its initials--whose shape reminded them of a ……chamber pot.
Climbing the steep slopes of S.P. Crater, you take one step forward and two steps back in the loose black cinders. This beautifully symmetric cone, about thirty miles north of Flagstaff, reminded local cowboys a century ago of the shape of a chamber pot, thus the initials S.P. As the old wranglers used to say, Volcanoes happen.