VIP8 Coyote Mountains

The observation deck that runs around the circumference of the Mayall 4-meter telescope gives you an expansive view of the southeast Arizona landscape. (If you aren't able to access the telescope, you can see the same vista from east of the large telescope building.) The small, very rugged range to the east of Kitt Peak is the Coyote Mountains. The northern two-thirds of this range is the 58-million-year-old Pan Tak Granite. ("Pan Tak" is from the Tohono O'odham language meaning "coyote sits.") The southern one-third is made of the same Jurassic granitic rocks as Kitt Peak, but in the Coyote Mountains these granites have been strongly metamorphosed. Metamorphism and intrusion of the Pan Tak granite were related aspects of a localized, intense Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary orogenic episode in southern Arizona and northern Sonorah, Mexico. On the west face of the Coyote Mountains, you can see many light-colored granite dikes. Some of these are Jurassic, others are early Tertiary. On May 3, 1887, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.2 shook an area of nearly 2 million square kilometers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. It was felt by the Tohono O'odham and caused a large rockfall in the Coyote Mountains.

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