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Moonrise over Raplee | by Bill Bowman
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Moonrise over Raplee

One of the most remarkable features of the Colorado Plateau (region covering NW New Mexico, N Arizona, SE Utah, and W Colorado) are the numerous anticlines and monoclines, long linear ridges in the crust, wrinkles associated with the uplift of the Rocky Mountains 70-80 million years ago. Examples of such wrinkles include Comb Ridge, the Water Pocket Fold, the San Rafael Swell, and my favorite, Raplee Ridge (a monocline). Due to the striping of the ridges and deep cracks Raplee Ridge nicely shows off the the distortion in the surface layers. It is difficult to capture the gestalt of this wonderful patterning from the ground- the view from Cedar Mesa comes close (see first comment) but the aerial views show it best (see Tom Till’s wonderful aerial photos). The distinctive and beautiful zig-zag patterning of the darker bands on Raplee Ridge, as well as the scattered buttes of Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley, have influenced weaving motifs of Dine´ (Navajo) rugs.

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Taken on November 27, 2020