Horseshoe Bend is a meander of the Colorado River in a horseshoe-shape located in the United States, near the town of Page, Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is at a distance of 5 miles (8.0 km) downstream from the Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area for nearly 4 miles (6.4km) to the southwest of Page.
Horseshoe Bend is accessible through hiking taking a round trip on U.S. Route 89 for a 1.5 mile. There is a road access reaching this geological structure. This is a part of a State Park and can be viewed from a cliff above. Colorado River is at 3,200 feet above sea level. The horseshoe bend rock walls contain the assortment of minerals such as platinum, hematite, and garn.
Horseshoe Bend Battle
Collision of Cultures
The Tallapoosa River of today winds quietly through east-central Alabama, while the banks edged by the forest remnants once covered the Southeast. Nearly 270-mile run, about halfway down to the southwest, the river curls to form a peninsula, back on itself. The “horseshoe bend” land as it covers around 100 wooded acres; where a finger points down its center, and on its Westside an island stands sentinel.
This setting is silent and peaceful that belies the violence of March 27, 1814, that cut through Horseshoe Bend. On the peninsula were 1,000 American Indian warriors, the tribe European Americans members. These men, in association with 350 children and women, had arrived in search of refuge and it was over six months. Many were a part of the costly battle series of the past year, and all fought attempting to regain the independence the Indians had in custody before the arrival of European Americans. Adjoining the Creek were forced piloted by Andrew Jackson, the future President, then a Tennessee Militia major general. The core was 2,600 European American soldiers, and the majority hoped a victory would ensure native land to European American settlement. However, this fight was merely not about European American versus Native American. In fact, on Jackson’s side, there were already 600 “friendly” Indians, together with 100 Creek.
The Horseshoe Bend Battle events of March 27 became popular, illustrating three long- running conflicts in American history. This was another fight between Native Americans and European Americans, and the decisive battle in the Creek War (1813-1814). Thus, that day and anything leading up to it offered an example of the pressures and anxiety among Native Americans, even among those who were in the same tribe. Eventually, both Creek factions got support from white governments and thereby pursuing the European nation’s long tradition of trying to defeat their rivals was done by joining the native population.
Geology of Horseshoe Bend
The spectacular view of the Colorado River of Horseshoe Bend presents an incised meander featuring the truth of the formation that started millions of years ago. The landscape appears pretty permanent now.
The Colorado River is trapped at a steep-sided canyon bottom now, but earlier it flows over a flat surface that was at a lower elevation. Today, the same Colorado Plateau is a raised region of America located in the western side of Rocky Mountains. There were tectonic movements that compelled the northern Arizona and the land of southern Utah to move up higher than the enveloping neighboring terrain. In the Cretaceous era, lately, the plateau was at the sea level, and now some parts of the surface are at 2000 meters standing around that is approximately above sea level at 6500 feet.
The Colorado River flowed like any other river across the land, before the formation of this plateau. The middle course where the meanders such as Horseshoe Bend are found is the place where the stream has most water and energy. The fast-flowing water carries sand, stones, and corrosive substances that in unison create an erosive force to be considered.
Like other meanders, the Colorado formed bends owing to a cycle of erosion and deposition. First, the exterior of the bend, the place where the water flows fastest is worn away. This rock and sediment eroded, and it then got deposited inside the bend by the slower- flowing water. This process of erosion and deposition continuously took place to cause the river to meander and migrate downstream.
Impressive landforms such as Horseshoe Bend emerged only after the Colorado Plateau gradual uplift caused the river to take or shape its path down all through the ancient sandstone, avoiding eroding from the sides. This is also because water always follows the steepest route. The banks of the river over millennia grew steeper and finally the river was entrenched at the canyon base.
Minerals in abundance
Walking up the path, towards the sandy hill is a walk taking through cycles of time. Around 200 million years ago, this sand was the largest sand dunes system that the North American continent had ever seen. These “sand seas” are referred to as ergs. Eventually, these massive ergs got hardened by minerals and water into Navajo Sandstone, forming a uniform of smooth sandstone layer. This stretches from Arizona to Wyoming, and in some places, it can be more than two thousand feet thick. On reaching the Horseshoe Bend edge, there is approximately 1000 feet (305 meters) of the sandstone to the river. After the hardening of the Navajo Sandstone, other layers of mudstone, sandstone, and different sedimentary layers got piled on it. After millions of years, the patient water in the form of ice, rain, floods, and streams, started eroding away different layers. Today the Navajo Sandstone is exposed again, and its sand is wearing away slowly. So people are walking on the sand of the Navajo Sandstone, which was of the giant Jurassic erg, the recycled sand.
Descending the path is bumpier a bit, and it alternates between sand, whitish gravel and some pretty solid, the Navajo Sandstone, sloping rocks. It reveals the rocks has diagonal striped layers and are the remnants of the old massive sand dunes layers before they were hardened or fossilized into sandstone. This rock is limestone or calcite and the same rock drips into cave formations. This mineral, back 180 million years ago mixed with snow and rain to cement the sand grains together, and this process took nearly 20 million years. Eventually, the sand dunes were hardened by calcite and the beautiful sloping shapes of the dune was retained. Today, the sand erode grains; the calcite chunks also are present. Getting to the viewpoint closer gives a view of some rocks covered with sandy, hard bumps. These are iron concretions. Iron is heavier to sand grains and got attracted in the ball shape to itself while the sandstone was hardened. Now the same sandstone is eroding and the concretions of iron can be viewed. As these concretion balls break away from the rock, they will be referred to as ‘Moki Marbles.’
Horseshoe Bend is Mother Nature’s another little trick in a world of sandstone that results in the neatest, weirdest formations in the west. This refers to the famous Glen Canyon and the downstream Colorado River from Glen Canyon Dam holds Lake Powell. All this is within the Glen Canyon National Recreation area. Take a camera featuring widest lens to shoot pictures. The best time is when the sun is on the river curve that is around noon and 2 pm.