"Comb Ridge II"
"Comb Ridge II"
Limited Edition Aerial Photograph by Zedekiah
This jagged, lone linear north to south curving monocline is called Comb Ridge. First Nations Diné call this ancient ridge "Tséyíkʼáán" meaning “Rock Extends in the Form of a Narrow Edge.”
Arcing across the center of the Colorado Plateau from Kayenta in northern Arizona to the foothills of Abajo Mountain in the distant southern Utah, this immense sandstone formation is 1 mile wide and nearly 120 miles long.
These jagged scared and weathered crags are a vivid surface expression of the deep fault that lays along the east margin of the powerful Monument Uplift.
This massive blunt-rock extension happened almost 65 million years ago when the Earth's tectonic plates, buried deep under the earth’s surface violently slipped. It was a monumental geologic event which left a massive rugged scar across the face of the once smooth flat stone.
This image was lensed while flying above the Four Corners area shows the most prominent section which lies towards the north. Here, for about 30 miles, this massive fault line reaches heights of 700 feet above the surroundings, and is characterized by gently sloping ground to the east, formed by the top of a layer of white Navajo sandstone inclined at 20°, and by an unbroken line of sheer cliffs to the west, where several of the underlying strata are exposed, most visibly the red Wingate sandstone.
The more accessible east side of the reef is split up by numerous short box canyons, often containing springs, seeps or pour-over pools. Within these sheltered ravines, the ancient Anasazi found ideal dwelling places. They built complex settlements nestled in alcoves and on top of benches overlooking sheer cliffs and decorated the surrounding canyon walls with pictographs and petroglyphs.
These Ancient Ancestral Puebloans once found refuge in the Comb's alcoves and their existence can still be found today as ruins and rock art on the canvas of these shallow cave walls.