Antelope Canyon
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Stop 22 Antelope Canyon
Location: 3 miles south of Page, AZ
Date: March 11, 2007

As earth scientists, we were able to appreciate not only the natural beauty of the canyon but also the processes that created it. Antelope Canyon’s entrance is a narrow curved slit in the cliffs only a few meters wide. The canyon is composed of a bedrock material called Navajo Sandstone, which can be found throughout northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Once inside, the temperature drops as much as 20 degrees and the walls of the canyon create a narrow winding path that extends for roughly 400 meters. At the highest point, the canyon is over 37 meters from the bottom to the top. However, in recent years the canyon height has become shallower from the aggrading sand deposited by the ephemeral Antelope Creek. Ephemeral streams only flow when heavy rains occur. Because the climate is arid and the ground is not very absorbent, Antelope Canyon and other slot canyons in the area can become inundated with flash floods. It is not uncommon for people become trapped and perish in the canyon during a flood event; luckily we were not at risk this day.

Antelope Canyon is only 15 minutes southeast of Page and is regulated by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.
There are several different sightseeing businesses allowed to take paying tourists on canyon tours,
helping to make it the most visited slot canyon in the southwest.


Pictures of Antelope Canyon: At left the group at the head of the canyon. At right a view inside the canyon.


According to Navajo lore, there are two different types of flooding named for the male and female gender. Male flooding is turbulent and its powerful erosive forces are responsible for the scouring of the canyon walls. Debris like the log jam above displays the forces at work in the canyon. Female flooding is lower turbulence and is when sand is deposited on the canyon floor. The picture below shows how the fine grain sand can be deposited even along canyon ledges. Whether the stream aggrades or incises is dependant on the power of the stream. Power is determined primarily by velocity and area.


Sand accumulates on the canyon walls sometimes creating small sand falls, these we created ourselves


The unique shapes of the canyon walls stimulate the imagination of every visitor. There are several famous wall shapes that are named for what they resemble. The picture below shows Abraham Lincoln; other famous shapes include the playboy bunny, George Washington, and the mythical bear and eagle.


This is a picture of the famous Abe Lincoln formation, can you make out our famous president?


We also observed a feature found on the canyon walls called Moki Stones. Moki stones are small round mineral deposits that resemble a nasty pimple. They are formed when pockets of different mineral composition secrete mineral residue.


An example of Moki stones these found at Horseshoe Bend



By David Speer