West Mitten at High Noon
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West Mitten Butte, with Big Indian and Setting Hen in background:
Monument Valley is located on the southern border
of Utah with northeastern AZ. The valley lies within the
midst of the Navajo Nation, and is accessible from U.S.
The Navajo name for the valley is Ts Bil' Ndzisgaii
(Valley of the Rocks).
The area is part of the Colorado Plateau. 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 rocks
in the valley get their color 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.
Between 1948 and 1967, the southern extent of the
Monument Upwarp was mined for uranium.
April 26, 2009