Shiprock in New Mexico is the remains of a volcano that erupted about 30 million of years ago. It is a volcanic neck or what is left of the main chamber that would have been just under the crater of the volcano.
The rock is made up of magma that cooled and hardened. At that time what we see today was inisde the volcano, but the surrounding rocks that made up the volcano have since eroded away.
Tsé bit'a'i - Rock With Wings
For the Navajo Shiprock is called Tsé bit'a'i -Rock With Wings. It is a sacred place where Naayéé' neizgháni -Monster Slayer, one of the Navajo warrior twins, killed Tsé nináhálééhké -the Bird Monsters.
After Monster Slayer slayed the two adult the Bird Monsters, he transfored their two offspring. One he transformed in to an Eagle and the other he transformed in to an Owl. In Navajo mythology this is where we get Eagles and Owls today.
Looking north. Shiprock on the left. In the middle is Sleeping Ute Mountain in Colorado. On the right is Mesa Verde home of Cliff Palace.
Scott playing at Shiprock.
While visiting Shiprock, Scott was playing this Yazzie flute, with a horse block, when seven horses appeared in the rocks to the west. As dusk fell the horses made their way down the rocks and came up cautiously around our car walking within twenty feet of Scott. They paused for a moment and then proceeded to the puddle, pictured behind Scott in this image, and began to drink. Before Jonette Yazzie could get her camera set up properly the horses spooked and ran away toward Shiprock. She did manage to get two images with low light. (see next photo)
The seven horses approach.
The horses pass August who is still playing. To the right of the white horse is a colt.
Shiprock reflected in water.
There had been a heavy rain the night before and as we tried to drive close to Shiprock our path was stopped by deep puddles of water.
One of the magma vents or dikes that led up to the main chamber that is now Shiprock. There are six known vents. This is the largest. During the time that the Shiprock volcano was erupting these vent fed magma from deep underground. With the passage of time erosion has stripped the softer sandstone that once covered it leaving them exposed, looking like giant walls.
Another view of the main vent from the west side.
To the southeast of Shiprock the moon rose as the sky turned multicolored.
Shiprock at twilight.
The sun dips below the horizon leaving the Rock with Wings silhouetted against the sky.
During the weekend of Oct 2nd, 2003 the Yazzies visited Shiprock with their friend and Native American flute player Scott August