Why are the red rocks of Sedona so red?

If you’ve ever visited Sedona Arizona’s famous red rocks or seen the Grand Canyon, or the Vermillion Cliffs or the astonishingly rainbow-colored hills of China’s Zhangye National Geopark, you likely noticed they have one thing in common: red-colored rocks.

Red rocks, rainbow mountains

Rainbow Mountains of China’s Zhangye Danxia National Geologic Park (Credit: imaginechina.com)

How did these rocks get so red? The answer involves iron, which bonds with other elements to form minerals famous for their red, rusty hue.

To start at the beginning, the iron on Earth came from ancient supernova events, the collapse of large stars that ran out of energy and “died.” After these stars collapsed (due to extreme gravity at their centers), they released a vast amount of new energy, which fused together elements, creating heavier elements, including iron (Fe).

After the force from such a collapse got too immense, the collapsing star exploded outward, sending the elements into space, said Jessica Kapp, a senior lecturer and associate department head of the geosciences department at the University of Arizona. [Photo Timeline: How the Earth Formed]

“When Earth first formed, it grabbed up a bunch of these elements from the space around it, including iron,” Kapp told Live Science in an email.

In Earth’s early history, during the Archean era (4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago), there was little oxygen in the atmosphere. Without oxygen, iron can dissolve in water, and so Earth’s early Archean oceans carried large amounts of dissolved iron, said Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.

However, single-celled organisms began producing oxygen through photosynthesis — a process that uses sunlight to power a reaction between water and carbon dioxide, leading to the creation of carbohydrates and oxygen.

That oxygen got into the oceans and bonded with the iron, leading to the creation of iron-oxide minerals, such as hematite (Fe2O3), which is often red in color, and magnetite (Fe3O4).

“An oxidation reaction you might be familiar with is rusting — when metal reacts with the oxygen in the air and becomes rust,” Kapp said. “In rocks, it is little grains of minerals like hematite and magnetite that have iron in them. Those minerals experience oxidation and become rust, turning the rocks red.”

The creation of these minerals led to the formation of the banded iron formations, the most important iron deposits in the world, Engelder said. The formations are “banded” because they contain layers of hematite between layers of silica, which were laid down as sedimentary rock layers during the during the late Archean to mid-Proterozoic (an era lasting from 2.5 billion to 541 million years ago), according to a 2016 study in the journal Geoscience Frontiers.

For instance, banded iron formations appear in Carajas, Brazil; Lake Superior, Canada; Hamersley Basin, Western Australia; regions in northern China; and the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota.

In the case of the Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona, the red color comes from iron-rich minerals that are interspersed with the sedimentary rock at that site.

“Red sandstones are very common in the western United States,” Kapp said. “[They] can be found in places like Sedona, Arizona, and in the Mojave Desert of California at Red Rock Canyon State Park.”

Other red rock formations that contain oxidized iron minerals include the Chugwater Formation in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado and the Redwall Limestone cliff of the Grand Canyon, which was stained red by the iron-oxide minerals leaching out from the layers above it.

Source: Why Are the Vermilion Cliffs So Red?

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Astrology weekly preview June 12, Neptune Retrograde

The week ahead, Main planetary events and Moon placements:

June 12  Moon enters AQUARIUS @ 4:45 pm PDT/ 7:45 pm EDT/ 11:45 pm GMT

AQUARIUS moon is a detached, Fixed, AIR element sign. Aquarius is the sign of higher consciousness, invention, lightning fast thoughts and breakthrough genius. We feel like rebelling under an Aquarius Moon, we get restless and are bored with the status quo and same old everything. 

June 13 MERCURY in GEMINI Trines JUPITER in LIBRA

This is an airy trine that supports communications and love. It’s a good day to talk- a lot with partners on both personal and business levels. Seek answers to questions in relationships to bring them into a more positive balance.

MERCURY in GEMINI squares NEPTUNE IN PISCES

Gemini Moon tara greene Astrology

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 Gemini and PISCES are mutable adaptable signs.  Mercury is the mind and Pisces is the spirit. Mind  directs everything, but the spirit is the basis for all.  Think about your dreams, talk about them. Have an inner dialogue, write down what you want and what you don’t want.  This is a good brainstorming day to  listen to your moods, your intuition and your emotional and etheric body.  Pay attention to your dreams on this night. Gemini is a dualistic sign and Pisces symbolizes that ALL is one. There is no duality that is just an illusion. 

June 15 Moon enters PISCES @ 3:17 am PDT/ 6:17 am EDT/ 10:17 am GMT

When the Moon is in PISCES we are submerged by our emotions. It is the time of the highest psychic, intuitive, most spiritual as well as creative and dreamiest time of all the months. Compassion, charity, forgiveness, and martyrdom are at high levels. Be careful of all addictive parts of the personality under the Pisces Moon as your ability to judge realistically is off. Pay attention to your dreams under this moon as they will be especially strong. 

SUN opposes SATURN in SAGITTARIUS @ 3:18 am PDT/ 6:18 am EDT/ 10:18 am GMT

Sun square saturn Astrology Tara Greene

Gemini SUN is dualistic, but the straight shooting arrow of the Sagittarius Centaur aims in one direction only.  Saturn in any sign is always the heavyweight, his metal is lead, the densest of all.  Gemini is like the wind or a butterfly. Gemini energy tends to be immature, childlike and curious for information.Saturn wants the cold hard facts.                                                                        Saturn is maturing.  The SUN’s opposition to Saturn can certainly lighten up the Saturn blues heaviness. And conversely, Saturn helps every nervous indecisive Gemini to make a commitment. That commitment can be to higher education, to pursuing justice, to travel, to teach, to buy a car, to get engaged or married. 

June 15/16 MERCURY in GEMINI inconjuncts PLUTO in CAPRICORN

The Power of Love in the three elements Tara Greene

Omnia Vincit Amor, or The Power of Love in the Three Elements
Benjamin West

 All inconjuncts are between incompatible elements. It’s like  the two planets are already filing for divorce. Yet this aspect  as difficult as it may be to navigate requires a certain  compromise to have these disparate elements and planets  work together.  Mercury is the mind itself, consciousness.  PLUTO is the soul, the unconscious, the shadow aspects of  the self. These two aspects must interconnect for wholeness  to be achieved. Dialogue with your shadow, ask yourself to  face the scariest parts of yourself. Opening up to your  shadow allows hidden resources of energy to be tapped and transferred into consciousness. Better conscious than unconscious. This can also be done in facing the scariest aspects of those who hold power in the world. 

June 16 NEPTUNE turns RETROGRADE in PISCES June 16-November 22

William Blake, dreams, Astrology, tara Greene

William Blake, Jacob’s Ladder 1806 

Neptune turns our spirits, feelings, and intuitions back to review our dreams, to go back into our deep unconscious and spiritual realms to revisit old unconscious matters both positive and negative. Neptune Retrograde may bring back old nightdreams, nightmares, lovers, gurus, spiritual work, communes, charities, fears phobias and shadows. It’s a good time for therapy work especially creative therapies. Old addiction issues which we may think we’ve dealt with can come up again to haunt us. Old feelings of guilt, remorse, what you could have done may reverberate in your psyche. distinguish between things that you can change and those that you cannot. All Retrograde times are good medicine, they are healing. Practice active dreamwork, lucid dreaming and do go over dream journals during this time. Neptune in Pisces can revive an old artwork, creative project or something you need to go over and finish. 

June 17 Moon enters ARIES @10:55 am PDT/1:55 pm EDT/ 5:55 pm GMT

It’s always the start of a new monthly cycle with the Moon in Aries. We are impulsive, impatient, headstrong, and rash under this month. It’s a good energy to start new projects. Aries Moon is a fiery initiating cycle. Headaches and accidents from doing things too impulsively are more likely. A love of speed and dangerous is higher now.  We are feeling independent, strong willed and bossy. Anger levels are high as fuses are short. Burn off excess anger and or energy by working out, martial arts, or a  heavy gym session.

GEMINI SUN sextiles URANUS in ARIES

Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda shamans witches Astrology Tara Greene,

This is a very important day for big ideas, inventions, revolutionary changes and freedom. Conscious breakthroughs from seeing things from a higher perspective are very strong. March to your own drummer and spark others to be free to do so as well. Join with others who are on the same wavelength and brainstorm away.  You are much more brilliant than you thought.

 

MERCURY in GEMINI opposite SATURN in SAGITTARIUS  on Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day, Tara Greene

If the SUN opposite Saturn didn’t make you commit on the 15th to something, then this aspect will.  Serious ideas can be discussed with partners, mentors, or anyone older than you. Saturn symbolizes the father and it’s the perfect aspect for Father’s day.  Yes talk to and communicate with your Dad. If you dad has passed on you can still talk to him.  Mercury in Gemini is clever and inventive and always coming up with new ideas use them in a single pointed optimistic pursuit of higher knowledge. 

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Get a reading with me http://www.taratarot.com

 

 

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