Geology of Sedona and The Verde Valley
The surrounding mountains near Sedona AZ are a rock-hound’s dream, as they are filled with fossils, minerals and various crystal formations. Some small gold mining operations are still in existence on the Mingus mountain range and a few old miners still pan for gold in the hills and streams.
The hills in and around Jerome are a literal catacomb of old mine shafts and weathering bones of mine structures and machinery. While copper was the main pursuit of the mining operations in Jerome, a large amount of gold was recovered as well.
A recent spike of prices in precious metals, has renewed interest in the mines in and around the Verde Valley. Several small scale operations have reopened in the area and the old slag piles in Cottonwood and Clarkdale are to be reprocessed, as technology has advanced to allow better refinement of these materials. It is estimates that the slag pile in Clarkdale still contains over 20,000 ounces of Gold, that was unable to be removed from these materials with older methods.
Northern Arizona was once an incredibly active volcanic area. In fact, Sunset Crater outside of Flagstaff is estimated to be ONLY around 1000 yrs old. The mineral deposits in Jerome are thought to be formed by a large sea floor caldera that collapsed in onto itself.
The same fault lines that formed the Verde Valley, were also responsible for the chalky white rocks found throughout the Verde Valley. The dropping valley floor damned the ancestral Verde River, flooding the entire Verde Valley with an ancient lake. It is thought that the Sedona airport is located on the lake bottom.
The red rock formations of Sedona are mostly ancient sand dunes, hardened into rock over eons of time and tremendous pressure of overlaying rock layers. These sand dunes are unique to the Verde Valley and are found nowhere else in Arizona. The red color in the rocks is due to a high concentration of iron.
You may hear of “vortexes” in the Sedona area. Whether or not there is a mystical power attached to this phenomenon remains debatable, but there is geologic evidence to support their existence. The amount of iron in the rocks actually causes earths magnetic field to bend inwards from its normal trajectory over the earth. Another place this occurs is Ayers Rock in Australia.
Wind, water and eons of time have created an incredibly gorgeous landscape for owners of Verde Valley & Sedona Real Estate!