Antelope CanyonÂ isÂ located onÂ Navajoland nearÂ Page,Â Arizona. It is on the southern edge of the Grand Canyon Range by Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. Â Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic ‘slot’ canyon sections, referred to individually asÂ Upper Antelope CanyonÂ andÂ Lower Antelope Canyon.
TheÂ NavajoÂ name for Upper Antelope Canyon isÂ TsÃ© bighÃ¡nÃlÃnÃ, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Lower Antelope Canyon isÂ HazdistazÃÂ (advertised asÂ “Hasdestwazi”Â by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or “spiral rock arches.” Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.
These images were taken in the summer of 2012 on a special trip I took through Arizona to see these rock formations. It is one of the most photographed geologic locations in the American Southwest and requires arranging guides to visit, per tribal rules. Antelope Canyon was formed byÂ erosionÂ ofÂ Navajo Sandstone,Â primarily due toÂ flash floodingÂ and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially duringÂ monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways erode, making the corridors deeper and smooth in such a way as to form characteristic ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock.Â The “Shafts of Light” are created when fine sand particulate falls from the upper areas at the right times of day. Tour guides often throw sand up into the air to catch the effect for people to see. These canyons are sacred to the Navajo.