Pareidolia in Verde Canyon

September 12, 2008


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The Verde Valley, located in central Arizona midway between Flagstaff and Phoenix, is a rare, pristine desert environment. The valley was given its present name by early Spanish explorers who were stunned by the vibrant greenery, created by the waters of the Verde River, in what was otherwise a dull brown landscape. Early inhabitants of Verde Valley included the Sinagua people, dry land farmers who lived here from about 1125 until around 1400 and whose ruins can still be seen at both Tuzigoot and Montezuma’s Castle. Currently, a luxury tourist railroad makes regular trips through the valley.

This image of a face made from rocks is an example of the psychological phenomenon known as pareidolia, or the act of the brain creating recognizable objects from inanimate random objects. Other instances of pareidolia include seeing faces or objects in clouds and the Man in the Moon.