Friday, August 7, 2009

Standin' on the Four Corners, Really

If you think you've been to the Four Corners, you may want to think again. Then again, maybe that vacation snapshot of yourself standing with one limb in each of four states -- Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado -- really is legit.

Since April there has been a lot of media hubbub about the Four Corners Monument being in the wrong place. The idea continues to float through the blogosphere (much like Birther conspiracies). Specifically, it keeps being 'reported' that the actual Four Corners intersection point is 2.5 miles east of where the Navajo Nation's tribal park is located. An article published by Salt Lake City's Deseret News got picked up by MSNBC and Backpacker, among other major media outlets, and so the rumors spread.

Well, if you've now been thinking that the Four Corners Monument is in the wrong place, you're wrong. For the most part, that is. Confused? While it's true that the 1875 survey of the Four Corners didn't have the technical equipment to place the monument exactly where it was intended to go, the surveyor was only off by 1800 feet (quite a technical feat, considering the terrain and the time period) and in the opposite direction, west of where the current monument sits.

But all that doesn't matter, according to not only the Navajo Nation and the Colorado Bureau of Land Management, but also NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS). That's because once a monument is accepted by the federal government and all parties involved, that's the end of the story, at least legally speaking. If you want to delve into the science behind the surveying, read this in-depth NGS article or better yet, listen to their 12-minute podcast (click here for the MP3).

So, hold your horses. The Four Corners Monument really is where the Navajo National says it is. Now you can keep those digital photos of yourself standing on the Four Corners on your virtual bookshelf. Relax, you've really been there.

Photo: Sunset near Lake Powell (Sara Benson)

No comments:

Post a Comment