Shiprock is a rock formation, which rises over 500 meters in San Juan County, New Mexico. In the language of the Navajo, Shiprock translated as "winged rock".
Ancient Navajo legend says that a huge bird brought them from their ancient place of habitation to these lands. The rock formations and surrounding land are very important to the Navajo.
One of their legends tells that after they begun life on the monolith, leaving it only to drink water and forage, it was struck by lightning. Women and children remained on the top and the men who were below, could no longer reach them, to bring them food and water.
It is considered taboo for people to climb on top, as they can anger the spirits of the deceased.
Another legend says that Shiprock heals and that it is part of a huge healing entity. Its body is made of the Chuska Mountains, and the Carrizo Mountains are its feet. Ancient Navajo legend tells of giant flying creatures that nest on top and eat people.
Some believe that the name of a rock formation comes from the tip, that looks too much like a large ship of the nineteenth century.
Near the rock formation is located the city Shiprock which received its name from the formation. The Shiprock formation plays an important role in the religion of Navajo in their mythology and rituals. The Shiprock formation is located in the heart of the civilization of the ancient Pueblo Indians, which represent a prehistoric culture in the southeastern United States. Pueblo Indians were called by many researchers by the name Anasazi.
The rock formation attracts a huge amount of tourists from around the world, including climbers, and photographers who want to perpetuate the beautiful view.
Shiprock is formed through volcano that erupted thirty million years ago. Magma, which cools and becomes hard plays an important role in Navajo culture, by which it is considered sacred.
The central part of Shiprock is five hundred meters in diameter. The rock formation is composed of volcanic mass. In practice, it is an eroded section of the throat of a volcano. Most likely, the rock was formed initially to about three thousand feet below the surface, but after millions of years of erosion, it is seen above the ground.
The volcanic rock is finally formed around twenty-seven million years ago. Shiprock is part of the Navajo Volcanic Field, which includes a similar formation, known as El Capitan.