Home Archived May 12, 2018

Stanton Repeat Photography

Mile 206.8, Indian Canyon, Upstream View from River Right (Stake 1516)

Viewing Grand Canyon Site 101 of 119 Return to Main Stanton Index

Stake 1516, 1 March 1890 View Larger Image
1 March 1890
The first of March was a busy day for the Stanton expedition. After running 205 Mile Rapid, the crew made twenty miles and Stanton photographed twenty-three views. This downstream view, made at 8:00 AM, was one of his first that day. His railroad likely would have passed through the foreground, a bench on top of the Tapeats Sandstone. The view shows desert vegetation with a diversity of species present, including ocotillo, creosotebush, barrel cactus, and a small hemispheric shrub that likely is white bursage.
Photo credit: Robert B. Stanton, 57-RS-643, courtesy of The National Archives

Stake 1516, 23 February 1991 View Larger Image
23 February 1991
The downstream view from the mouth of Indian Canyon is one of twenty that show the effect of burro grazing on desert vegetation in Grand Canyon. This site had heavy burro use that ended ten years before this view was made; numerous animal trails cross through the foreground of this view. Most of the perennial plants present in 1890 are gone; only three ocotillos, a creosotebush, and five individuals of Mormon tea persist. The ocotillos in the view have scars at their base caused by burro grazing and subsequent healing. The most abundant plant in the foreground of the 1890 view, interpreted to be white bursage, had twenty-nine individuals, all of which are now dead. Only one seedling of white bursage, which is not visible in the view, was found at the site. Four individuals of barrel cactus are visible in the 1890 view; thirty are visible in the 1991 view. The change likely resulted from a decrease in the frequency of severe frosts in Grand Canyon.
Photo credit: Raymond M. Turner

Stake 1516, 30 March 2003 View Larger Image
30 March 2003
One of the prominent ocotillo at left center has died, possibly in response to the early 21st century drought, and its carcass is visible on the rocks below. Some of the barrel cacti have died, and some of the smaller shrubs have died or died back.
Photo credit: Thomas O’Dell

Stake 1516, 13 March 2005 View Larger Image
13 March 2005
The desert vegetation in the foreground is similar although some shrubs are larger, probably growing in response to high precipitation in the winter of 2004-2005. The ocotillo carcass is decreasing in volume as the dead plant material decomposes.
Photo credit: Bruce Quayle

Stake 1516, 29 September 2010 View Larger Image
29 September 2010
Several more of the barrel cacti have died, and only one new one is apparent. Some of the other shrubs appear to have died or died back, again in response to overall drought conditions that have persisted much of the 20 years following the first match of this view in 1990. The ocotillo carcass is mostly gone, the result of decomposition. The river is red and laden with sediment injected in runoff in the Little Colorado River basin.
Photo credit: Steve Tharnstrom

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