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Rock Solid in Arizona

September 23, 2015

Rock: Hi, Rock Solid here. Geologist, botanist, ecologist, and economy-sized detective. ACME needed a good guide who was in tune with nature, so I volunteered for the job. Now let’s hike around this intriguing little piece of our planet!

Here’s Elephant Rock, one of the red rock hills that surround Sedona. It changes color all day, reflecting different shades as the sun moves across the sky. I’ve spent whole days watching these hills when I wasn’t tracking a crook, of course.

Most of the US’ copper comes from the red Arizona earth, much of it removed by strip mining. Companies dig huge pits to get at the ore, stripping the surface from miles and miles of delicate desert. If mining has to be done, I think it should be done in a more earth-friendly way. A little bit of extra effort can go a long way towards saving the environment.

Sycamore and pine trees cling to the hills around Sedona, but Arizona has an official state tree that’s straight out of the high desert: the saguaro cactus. It’s tall, strong, prickly, and thrives in harsh conditions, a lot like me.

Many Arizona landmarks have ancient names from native tribal languages. But this one has a more contemporary handle. Since it looks like the head of a particularly famous dog, folks around here call it Snoopy Rock.

If you’re wondering why Sedona’s hills are red, the answer is simple: they’re full of red minerals, like copper and iron. You might think iron is black, but remember what happens when they get wet. Rust!

This is one of the driest states in America, but the government has bet billions of dollars to pipe water from the Colorado River into central Arizona, turning dry desert into farmland. People have a lot of different opinions about whether this type of irrigation is a good or bad thing to do, just between you and me. I prefer the desert dry.



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