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Tue Mar 5, 2024

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Red Rocks of Sedona

300 million years ago, most of Arizona

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

was underwater. In fact, most of the Southwestern United States was underwater. This was the time when all of the individual continents that we know today were all together to form one super continent called Pangea, and fish were the most advanced life on the planet. Limestone, sandstone, and mudstone were accumulating as the seawater moves in and recedes, in the area known today as Sedona. Iron moves in from the volcanic areas to the sandstone and mudstone, oxidizing and creating various layers of soft reds and pinks.

We all know what happens when iron is exposed to water -- It rusts. Drop an iron nail in water for any period of time, or get a scratch on the side of your car, and over a short period you can witness it turning orange. This is precisely what happened in the Sedona area when the ocean dominated the area many millions of years ago. As the iron in the dirt was exposed to water, it rusted, turning various shades of red. This color still exists in the rocks today.

This process of water moving in and receding from the oceans is also what caused various erosions in the area and left behind some breath-taking structures; including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Coffee Pot Rock.

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