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June 1, 2011
Photographed by the astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia is this scene over Lake Powell. The lake was formed by the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. The vertical stabilizer of Columbia points northeastward. Navaho Mountain, northwest of the tail, according to NASA geologists, was formed by an intrusion of molten rock that uplifted older, layered rocks, then cooled, and has been exposed by erosion. The rest of the landscape is dominated by faulted layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone that were formed in shallow seas and great deserts 80 to 250 million years ago. These rocks of the Colorado Plateau were uplifted a few million years ago to be dissected by the meandering Colorado River, San Juan River, and their tributaries.

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