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Painted Desert
Painted Desert, Arizona - Navajo CountyPlain
.: klodhopper73 :.
May 1 2011
Painted Desert
Featured Detail Photo mini map Featured Full Photo.: OdinWiski :.
Jun 9 2017
Road Trip
ID609626
TypePlain
Topo MapWhite Cone
Other Nearby Places
0.7mi Cottonwood Spring
1.7mi Tesihim Butte
1.8mi Deshgish Butte
2.0mi Na Ah Tee Wash
2.2mi Na Ah Tee Canyon
2.5mi Rabbit Spring
History
The Painted Desert was named by an expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado on his 1540 quest to find the Seven Cities of Cibola, which he located some 40 miles (60 km) east of Petrified Forest National Park. Finding the cities were not made of gold, Coronado sent an expedition to find the Colorado River to resupply him. Passing through the wonderland of colors, they named the area El Desierto Pintado ("The Painted Desert").

Much of the Painted Desert within Petrified Forest National Park is protected as Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area, where motorized travel is limited. Nonetheless, the park offers both easy and longer hikes into the colored hills. The Painted Desert continues north into the Navajo Nation, where off-road travel is allowed by permit.

Geology
The desert is composed of stratified layers of easily erodible siltstone, mudstone, and shale of the Triassic Chinle Formation. These fine-grained rock layers contain abundant iron and manganese compounds, which provide the pigments for the various colors of the region. Thin resistant lacustrine limestone layers and volcanic flows cap the mesas. Numerous layers of silicic volcanic ash occur in the Chinle and provide the silica for the petrified logs of the area. The erosion of these layers has resulted in the formation of the badlands topography of the region.

In the southern portions of the desert, the remains of a Triassic period coniferous forest have fossilized over millions of years. Wind, water, and soil erosion continue to change the face of the landscape by shifting sediment and exposing layers of the Chinle Formation. An assortment of fossilized prehistoric plants and animals are found in the region, as well as dinosaur tracks and the evidence of early human habitation.

Area and climate
The Painted Desert extends roughly from Cameron–Tuba City southeast to past Holbrook and the Petrified Forest National Park. The desert is about 120 miles long by about 60 miles wide, making it roughly 7,500 square miles in area. Bordering southwest and south is the Mogollon Plateau and on the plateau's south border the Mogollon Rim, the north border of the Arizona transition zone.

Source
Wikipedia
static map
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