Coal Mine Canyon

Coal Mine Canyon

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Little known Coal Mine Canyon is one of the most incredible areas of the American southwest.  The colored Dakota sandstone layers around the rim are soft and crumbly Dakota sandstone lying on top of thicker bands of the Entrada Formation, with red, white, black and gray the main colors. The top strata have wildly contrasting tints in quick succession – red then white then orange then black, over a vertical distance of just a few feet. The bright red layers are the result of coloration of shale due to partial burning of the underlying coal. The erosional forms are generally similar to many other Southwest parks (such as Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Cathedral Gorge and Red Rock Canyon), but none of these can match the variety of both color and form on show at Coal Mine Canyon.

Choosing to shooting Coal Mine Canyon during the monsoon gave me a far better chance of capturing a dramatic sky.

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