Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Shiprock-Monument Valley Geological Juxtaposition


I was surfing the web this morning and somehow ended up in YouTube, the universe’s online repository for all things video. I stumbled on a trailer for the upcoming movie of the Lone Ranger set for a 2013 release. Check out the image that appears at about 9 seconds.

Notice anything strange about this photo capture? It’s the diatreme of Shiprock in New Mexico sharing the Colorado Plateau with the buttes of Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah line. They almost look like they belong together.

Only in Hollywood!

Here’s the link to the trailer:

For a bigger thrill (for all you Baby Boomer’s out there), here’s the original 1950's intro of the Lone Ranger:  

Want to learn more about Shiprock, go here:


  1. Speaking of Hollywood classics and inaccuracies in background, do you as a geologist ever find your enjoyment in a film disrupted by a historical storyline setting (generally in westerns) and the exact location they chose to shoot the movie which isn't at all like the original location in real life where the event happened ?

    I find this with plants all the time. I can normally tell where the location is and what it is not from the native or rather non-native plants from the location. Often I have seen stories where Tombstone Arizona is supposed to be the subject matter, but when they ride off, the scenery may be Monument Valley or Sedona.

  2. What a kick to meet up with the original Lone Ranger again! Funny though ... his gig seemed so much more convincing back in the day :) (back when he was hanging out in the Basin and Range Province, in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine CA)

    1. Hollis...thanks for that info! I had no idea that the original TV series was filmed back in California in the Alabama Hills, but it certainly makes sense for Hollywood TV-convenience. Thanks, Jack

  3. Jack - that is great that you did an image capture on this. Thank you. Regarding the 1st comment from Timeless, I always have my enjoyment disrupted when the film setting does not even come close to the actual setting. The latest Geronimo film was the worst of this with the Chiricahua leader set in the red rocks near Moab. I hate when that happens.

  4. Wayne, I agree 100%. I think that the code of ethics of all movie-makers needs to include a vow to create cinematography that is both geologically and botanically correct!