Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is a city and community that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 11,220.
Sedona's main attraction is its stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails. The famous red rocks of Sedona are formed by a layer of rock known as the Schnebly Hill Formation. The Schnebly Hill Formation is a thick layer of red to orange-colored sandstone found only in the Sedona vicinity. The sandstone is thought to have been deposited during the Permian period.
Many of Hollywood's classic westerns were filmed in or near Sedona. The red rock buttes and desert landscape provided a striking setting for these films. Most notably is 1950’s Broken Arrow, starring James Stewart. A number of its shooting locations can still be visited via off-road trails.
Geologically, the history of Sedona began about 500 millions years ago. Over a period of 300 million years, the land was alternately ocean bottom and coastal plain. Sedimentary layers of sandstone formed. Between 200 and 65 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the land. From 65 to 20 million years ago, there were uplifts in southern Arizona and down faulting and wind erosion in northern Arizona. From 20 to 12 million years ago, volcanic activity caused the Verde Valley to down fault into a deep basin with lakebeds, creating the Mogollon Rim.
About 3 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau uplifted. Since then, erosion by wind, rain and snowmelt has created Oak Creek Canyon and exposed the layers of sediment (Schnebly Hill Formation sandstone) to form the spectacular red rock formations we now see in Sedona. Vegetation and wildlife evolved and migrated. The process continues today, however slowly.
City of Sedona website: www.sedonaaz.gov/egov/home_1.aspx