The Old Trails Museum continued its History Highlight series when geologist Wayne Ranney presented Ancient Landscapes of the American Southwest on April 19 at La Posada Hotel.

Ranney used photographs, illustrations, and paleogeographic maps to take 40 attendees on a fascinating tour through time of the Colorado Plateau. He explored the incredible story of our region, which is world renown for spectacular landscapes including the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the Painted Desert, and the Petrified Forest. Surprisingly, these landscapes were once the site of warm tropical beaches, shifting dunes in Sahara-like deserts, coastlines stalked by large dinosaurs, and rivers that once flowed towards the present-day Rocky Mountains.

Ranney has a Masters of Geology from Northern Arizona University and is the co-author of Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau, the author of Carving Grand Canyon, and a contributing writer to Sedona Magazine. He works as a geology interpreter and trail guide for the Smithsonian Institution, Grand Canyon Field Institute, and the Museum of Northern Arizona, and he sometimes works as a shipboard geology interpreter for groups visiting the Arctic, the Amazon, Africa, and Antarctica.

The 2015 Spring History Highlight, a partnership program between the Old Trails Museum and the Winslow Arts Trust, was made possible in part by Arizona Humanities. For the latest updates on all of the Old Trails Museum’s exhibits and programs, subscribe to our “News” feed or “like” the museum on Facebook.