Category Archives: Volcanic Rock

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument was established as a national monument in 1990, but efforts to protect the petroglyphs began in the 1970’s when it was established as a state park.  It’s history started long before that, about 200,000 years ago, when lava flowed from a crack in the earth.  There were continuing eruptions, which formed cones.  Water eroded the softer sediments on the eastern edge.  What we see now are basalt boulders strewn about a volcanic escarpment

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Some Native Americans believe volcanic landscapes are sacred, and this may be one of the reasons so many petroglyphs (over 20,000 images) are here.  Not all the petroglyphs were made by the Ancestral Puebloans. In the 1700’s or 1800’s, Spanish shepherds may have left their marks of Christian crosses, pictures of livestock and their brands.  Unfortunately, there are also more modern marks made before this landscape was protected.

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Geometric and abstract images are among the oldest petroglyphs in the monument, dating back 2000 to 3000 years ago.

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There are many images of people.

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There are images of animals and plants.

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And if this is not a rocket ship, well then, just what is it?

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