Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/75

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67
ARCHITECTURAL FORMS IN NATURE.

considerable time, and I have always remembered them as about the most perfect architectural forms I have seen in all the West.

Pinnacles and multitudinous other forms were also there, and a close inspection would doubtless have discovered many quite as near perfection as those which attracted us from afar.

In other places in this same locality huge volcanic masses had been pushed mysteriously, in remote geological time, here and there through the strata of sandstones, and the layers of water-made rocks having been subsequently cut away by the rains, the harder fire-made rocks offering more resistance were left behind in tall spires, towers, and various fantastic shapes. To one of them, revealing from the mountains above it a central mass with wingiike dikes spreading out on each side, the Navajos have applied the name of Tsebetai, "The Stone Bird," and by this name it is now known to all who enter the barren and peculiar country. Gazing down upon it one day from the crest of the Tunicha Plateau, I was instantly impressed by the felicity of the Indian title, for there it lay upon the plain exactly like a great buzzard petrified with wings outstretched for flight.

PSM V54 D075 The captains.png
Fig. 5—The Captains.

As a rule, it is not the volcanic rocks that furnish the close images of bird, beast, or building. The sedimentary or water-made rocks yield the greatest number and the closest resemblances. Even in towers and pinnacles the water-made rocks, though softer, come out ahead, frequently sending up their splendid shafts to hundreds of feet, or to a full thousand, like the "Captains" in De Chelly Cañon, Arizona (Fig. 5). Minarets and spires from one hundred to three or four hundred feet high might be counted by thousands in the cliff and cañon country.

In far-away Greenland Dr. Kane came upon the red sandstone, "dreamy semblance of a castle flanked with triple towers, completely isolated and denned," which he named the "Three Brothers Turrets" (Fig. 6). Not far from this he found a still more singular and impressive shaft, whose poetical symmetry caused him to name it "Tennyson's Monument" (Fig. 7). This he describes thus: "A