Science Information

Living In Arizona Boulders--Where Did They Come From?


When most people think of building a secluded home, they think of tall trees and large bushes. But what about boulders?

Granite Park, located in Prescott, Arizona, which is in the north central part of the state, is one such place filled with 1.4 billion-year-old towering granite rock formations.

Rock formations of this type are rare in the United States. Northern Arizona to southern California are the most common locations for these statuesque boulders.

Formed in the Precambrian age, 1.4 billion years ago, these rocks started life under the earth's surface as large masses of molten rock, according to Dr. Archie M. Dickey, professor of environmental science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The rocks then cool before reaching the surface.

"This procedure is referred to as an intrusive igneous rock formation," said Dr. Dickey. "The molten rocks cool slowly and in the process form large, course-grained rocks."

After the granite was exposed at the surface, it was then at the mercy of the elements. Wind, rain, snow all started eroding the rocks. However, in the case of these particular formations, they produced their unique shapes and vistas because the granite first weathered in blocky, rectangular joints. You can actually see this throughout Granite Park - the blocky reddish-brown linear lines on the boulders.

Dr. Dickey explains that as the weathering continued, the granite turned into its now round distinctive shape. This type of weathering is called spheroidal weathering.

Residents of the new Granite Park community will be not just be able to enjoy living in privacy with these massive, statuesque boulders, but be able to stroll down trails featuring these two-hundred-foot high rock cliffs and four-foot-wide passages.

Robert Norman is vice president of Sun Pine Homes, a custom home builder and developer in Prescott, Arizona. His current project is developing Granite Park, a residential community first founded in1905 and filled with 1.4 billion-year boulders. For photos and more information, please visit our Web site. http://www.sunpinehomes.com


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