About this artwork
You are part way up one of the ancient volcanoes in northwestern Arizona. The Grand Cayon is about forty miles behind you. Today this mountain is simply a picturesque height standing up from a great plain covered with sage-brush and straggling pines and cedars; in some earlier geologie age it was an active volcano or vent-hole through which poured out smoke and steam and fiery liquid rock heaved up from the tumultuous depths below. These weird masses of grayish red, crumbly mineral stuff are lava ashes, left here by prehistoric fires when the earth's vast caldron boiled over and the rim of the crater, thick with its choking lining of burn-out rocks, was left to cool at leisure through all the following long, slow centuries.
You can explore all sorts of queer corridors and uncanny looking aisles among these ragged walls; sometimes they are so narrow two people could not pass each other, and the grotesque shapes of the old lava-masses seem ready to fall upon you. There is a strange fascination about the spot, but it is the fascination belonging to the scene of an ancient and terrible drama, in the world's unwritten history.
One especially queer thing about these ragged spaces is that sounds are almost completely deadened by the porous rock-walls. If these two ladies were no farther apart than they are now, but on opposite sides of one of the lava walls, their loudest shouts would be inaudible to each other.
Curiously enough, the only spring of water to be found in miles and miles is quite near where you stand now, right inside the mouth of the dead crater. There are no human creatures living about here, but all the wild things know the spot; even antelopes and big, surly looking bears are accustomed to come up to that spring water.
Currently Off View
- Underwood & Underwood
- Labyrinthine ways through the Lava ash formations, Red Mountain Crater, Arizona
- United States
- Albumen print, stereo, No. 6 from the series "Notes of Travel"
- 7.7 x 8.1 cm (each image); 8.9 x 17.8 cm (card)
- Restricted gift of Mrs. Leigh B. Block