The Wave

In the Coyote Buttes ravine in Arizona, huge waves of richly-coloured sandstone undulate across the landscape, looking as though they were painted by a giant hand. 190 million years ago in the Jurassic era, these sandstone waves (dubbed “The Wave”) were actually sand dunes migrating across the desert, but over the years they have calcified both horizontally and vertically, becoming compacted rocks. Their strange ridges and troughs were created by millions of years of wind and rain erosion, whose twists and turns reflect changes to the wind patterns in the Jurassic period. Erosion still affects the Wave today, mostly by wind that is now naturally channelled through it. This formation is a snapshot in geological time, a breathtaking exhibit of the effect of natural forces on their environment. It can only be reached on foot via a five kilometre hike, and since the sandstone is fairly soft, visitors are highly regulated—only twenty people are allowed to walk on the Wave each day. Walking across the weird, topsy-turvy landscape would be a surreal experience in itself, but if you need another reason to visit, the formation also boasts the fossil burrows of ancient arthropods like beetles—as well as the imprints of dinosaur tracks.

(Image Credit: 1, 2)


The Wave

The Wave consists of 200 million year old sand dunes that have turned to rock. These large sandstone formations are located on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in Arizona. The spectacular ribbons of various colors, called Liesegang Bands, were formed by the movement and precipitation of oxidizing materials such as iron and manganese in ground water. The Wave is accessible only on foot via a three-mile hike and is highly regulated.


Die Welle/The Wave (2008)

"Everybody’s longing for something big, for an idea, and when it arises everybody will join in."

A high school teacher’s unusual experiment to demonstrate what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own.

Gustave Courbet, The Wave c.1869

"The position and movement of our planet in the cosmos of which we form a part, its shape, its size, its general equilibrium, must necessarily be known before we can really understand any one of the physical phenomenon occurring on its surface. The most elementary of these, and the one present in almost all the others, weight, cannot be truly studied apart form the universal celestial phenomenon of which it is only a particular case. Indeed I have note elsewhere, that important phenomenon, above all that of the tides, naturally effect a real, though almost imperceptible, transition from astronomy to physics"

-Auguste Comte, Philosophic Considerations of Physics c.1835