Beautiful, Deadly Antelope Canyon

By | October 22, 2018

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Photographer in Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona. (Getty Images)

There is an other-worldly place in Page, Arizona, where flash-flood waters have carved two hidden slot canyons of such extraordinary beauty out of the terracotta stone that you would swear you are on the surface of Mars. Antelope Canyon has become a bucket list destination and a favorite photography location for the Instagram traveler. The most expensive photograph ever sold, taken by Peter Lik, features Antelope Canyon’s famous shafts of light. But the canyon is as dangerous as it is breathtaking. In fact, in 1997 eleven tourists died in a surprise flash flood that swept through the canyon. Let us look at the magic and danger of the beautiful and deadly Antelope Canyon. 

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Slot Canyons Are A Unique Geological Feature

Slot canyons and regular canyons, like the Grand Canyon, are both carved by water, but in the case of slot canyons, that water is not the gentle flow of a river, but the fast and furious flash flood waters. The flood waters that created Antelope Canyon come from thunderstorms over a mesa some fifteen miles away from the canyon. The run-off, following the path of least resistance, roars down the wash and funnels into fissures in the ground…the sandstone remains of prehistoric sand dunes…where the swirling water carved the unusual curves and juts of the canyon.