Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Phantom Ship on the Desert

My work often takes me to out-of-the-way places, not often traveled by the majority of people, which has given rise to my Off the Beaten Path series. In August I went to northeastern Arizona for a project site visit. Previous trips have brought me close (but not close enough) to a unique geologic feature called Ship Rock, in northwestern New Mexico near the Four Corners area.  This formation has always fascinated me, and I finally happen to pass nearby.
These remote sites are usually far from the nearest airport and one must drive great distances to catch a plane...which in this case was a 3-hour drive between Chinle, AZ and Durango, CO.  This view above greeted me as I descended on the east side of the mountains, and Ship Rock rises above the desert floor like a sailing ship moving across the sea.  The Navajo call this Tse' Bit'a'i, or Winged Rock. Not surprisingly, the Navajo consider this a significant spiritual place and one cannot help but feel a sense of awe or presence at this rock.  

These formations are called inselbergs and are formed by volcanic intrusions that remain after the surrounding ground has eroded away. Ship Rock rises more than 1,580 feet above the desert floor, and the adjacent ridge bears the evidence of a seeping of lava along an ancient fault line.

Since I was driving, there was a plane to catch in Durango which would hopefully bring me to Denver and then home to Portland...and I was behind schedule, I didn't have the luxury of time to stop and explore.  These images were taken from my rental car as I hurtled down the highway...thank goodness for automatic settings and focus!  (Yes...I've already been chided that this practice is not safe)

For more information on this interesting formation, check out this link:

1 comment:

auto transport quote said...

You could also get your car shipped there so you could actually take a look with being more near to it. I loved this and I would want to get a closeup look for it :)

Good post by the way :)