Friday, May 6, 2016

Amazing Vermilion Cliffs

    We have long been writing stories about the natural world for the web site, Live Science - .  It is a great site for anyone interested in science and all the wonders of the world.  We have decided to also put those stories and pictures onto our Finding Arizona website.  Hope you enjoy our stories and the Live Science site.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher  
      1. The Vermilion Cliffs of southern Utah and northern
Arizona are one of the more isolated and undisturbed regions of the Colorado Plateau. It is the “second step” of the larger geological region found here and known as the Grand Staircase.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher
2. The Vermilion Cliffs extend west from Paige, Arizona and is a classic high desert region of spectacular beauty and rugged wilderness. This arid region varies in elevation from 3100 (945 m) feet to 7300 (2225 m) feet.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher
     3. The weather across the Vermilion Cliffs region
ranges from 100 degrees F. (37.7C) in the summer to freezing and snow covered mountain tops in the winter. Only the most rugged of flora and fauna are naturally found in this vast, inhospitable region.

Credit: BLM      
4. Flash flooding in many of the regions slot canyons
are caused by the violent summer thunderstorms and are a potential danger for any hiker who might be exploring in the narrow, canyon crevasses.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher
     5. The reddish or “vermilion” cliffs that make up this
region are composed of layers of silt laid down by the ancient seas that covered this Colorado Plateau some 165 - 200 million years ago. Colored red by iron oxide and bluish by manganese the layers of silt and ancient desert sand dunes were cemented together over time by the penetration of carbonates.

Credit: Linda Buscher        
6. The Colorado River cuts through the Colorado
Plateau and the southern border of the Vermilion Cliffs to form what is known today as Marble Canyon.
A short distance from Marble Canyon in 1873 John D. Lee established the historic Lee Ferry. This is the only place for hundreds of miles where early Mormon settlers could cross the mighty Colorado River from both the east and west sides.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher
       7. The Vermilion Cliffs are also the site of one of the
most successful reintroduction into the wild of an endangered species. In 1996 six captive-bred young California Condors were released back into the wild in the Vermilion Cliffs. This was the first time since 1924 that these majestic birds could be seen once again flying over the Grand Canyon.

Credit: Linda Buscher
         8. Today over seventy condors soar above the
Vermilion Cliff region of Utah and Arizona. At least seven of those birds wild-bred condors having been successfully raised in nesting caves found within the Vermilion Cliffs and along the Colorado River.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher     
9. Regions of the Vermilion Cliffs are covered with
green, grassy valleys and meadows making an ideal habitat for Desert Bighorn Sheep, dear, elks and Pronghorn, Antilocapra americana. The pronghorn’s scientific name translates to “American antelope goat.” But these Vermilion Cliffs inhabitants are neither antelope nor goat as they are the only surviving member of the ancient hoofed mammal family Antilocapridae (order Artiodactyla) dating back some 20 million years.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher
     10. In 2000 the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
was established by presidential proclamation forever protecting some 280,000 unspoiled acres of geological treasures. This national monument is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management and includes the spectacular Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area.

Credit: BLM
11. Three areas of this national monument are best known for their spectacular geological beauty. The Wave in Coyote Buttes (North) the Cottonwood Cove and the Teepees in Coyote Buttes (South) and the White Pocket region are all a special destination for both hikers and photographers. Shown here is the region known as Coyote Butte.

Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher
      12. The Vermilion Cliffs are one of the many
sensational geological locations found throughout the western United States. Their rugged beauty and remote wilderness still allows one to grasp, experience and enjoy the natural beauty and wilderness of the American West before the arrival of our modern civilization.

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