The Blowout

In the cliffs above the old mining town of Ouray, Colorado is a colorful physical feature known locally as The Blowout. Here, the same geological processes responsible for the rich mineral resources that made this area such a prosperous mining district also created these colorful mineral deposits. The Blowout provides a tiny but vivid glimpse of the large geological structural zone called the Colorado Mineral Belt.

Marble Canyon

At Lee’s Ferry in the far north of Arizona, the Colorado River enters a gorge called Marble Canyon. This section of the river is the last before the Colorado enters the far larger Grand Canyon. Nevertheless, Marble Canyon is a huge, impressive river gorge in its own right as this stretch near Navajo Bridge shows.

A quiet stretch along Ash Creek

This quiet stretch along Ash Creek is a water source for local wildlife in an otherwise arid, mountainous landscape. Here, the creek flows between the Rincons and the Little Rincons along the road to Happy Valley. This location is in the far east of Pima County, Arizona.

Manzanita

Many species of Manzanita are present in western North America ranging from Canada to Mexico. They are characteristic plants of a habitat, or biome, called chaparral. Manzanitas are evergreen shrubs or small trees with interesting smooth reddish, almost polished-looking bark. At mid-elevation locations in Arizona, the local chaparral biome is more simplified and is referred to as interior chaparral. These Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos pungens) were photographed at about 6,800′ in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona.

Altocumulus clouds

Typically, desert skies are often cloudless. When clouds are in evidence, they are usually fair weather cumulus or high cirrus clouds. During the monsoons, towering thunderheads are common. These sheets of fragmented-looking altocumulus clouds provided an interesting departure from the norm in this scene from Cochise County, Arizona.

Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch dam constructed on the Colorado River in  the far north of Arizona. It is named for its location in the gorge known as Glen Canyon, now largely submerged, where the river enters Arizona from Utah. The dam backs up the river to form a reservoir, named Lake Powell, extending far back into Utah. Below Glen Canyon Dam, the Colorado River flows freely for 370 miles before encountering the next dam, Hoover Dam, after flowing through the Grand Canyon.