Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/78

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70THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.


many miles their exquisite color and massive columnar facades crown the high country ten thousand feet or more above the sea, visible far to southward, and with the underlying Gray Cliffs and the still lower down Vermilion Cliffs (which find their beginning in Glen Canon of the Colorado, and trace their serpentine line leagues to

PSM V54 D078 Temples of the virgin.png
Fig 8.—Temples or the Virgin.

the west to meet the Temples of the Virgin) form one of the most magnificent panoramas to be found anywhere in the world. Detached and isolated portions of these Pink Cliffs, surrounded by the upper members of the Gray, produce sometimes novel effects. I recall one sunny morning when I found myself suddenly in a silent grassy glade, green and gray all round, with before me what can be likened only to an immense pipe organ, its delicate pink columnar pipes standing full two hundred feet high against a somber background of pines where Æolus could be heard sighing for the lost chord.

Major Dutton, in his Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah, says of these Pink Cliffs: "The resemblances to strict architectural forms are often startling. The upper tier of the vast amphitheater is one mighty ruined colonnade. Standing obelisks, prostrate columns, shattered capitals, panels, niches, buttresses, repetitions of symmetrical forms, all bring vividly before the mind suggestions of the work of giant hands, a race of genii once rearing temples of rock, but now chained up in a spell of enchantment, while their structures are falling in ruins through centuries of decay. Along the southern and southeastern flank of the Paunsagant (plateau) these ruins stretch mile after mile. But the crowning work is Table Cliff in the background. Standing eleven thousand feet above sea level and projected against the deep blue of the western sky, it presents the aspect of a vast Acropolis crowned with a Parthenon. It is hard to dispel the fancy that this is a work of some intelligence and design akin to that of humanity, but far grander. Such glorious tints, such keen contrasts of light and shade, such profusion of sculptured forms, can never be forgotten by him who has once beheld it."

Thus everywhere the imagination is roused to the comparison of the natural and the artificial; with little effort it discovers classic outlines in these rain-carved forms. And occasionally there is some-