Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument stretches 17 miles (27 km) along Albuquerque, New Mexico’s West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that controls the city’s western horizon. Authorized June 27, 1990, the 7,236 acre (29.28 km2) monument is cooperatively managed by the National forest Service and the City of Albuquerque. The western limit of the monument includes a chain of inactive crack volcanoes. Starting in the northwest corner, Butte volcano is followed to its south by Bond, Vulcan, Black and JA volcanoes.

Petroglyph National Monument safeguards a range of cultural and natural deposits including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 24,000 images carved by Ancestral Pueblo individuals and early Spanish settlers. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brand names and crosses; others are more intricate. Their meaning was, perhaps, comprehended just by the carver.

These images are the cultural heritage of an individuals who have actually long since moved into other locations and proceeded through history for many reasons. The monument is planned as a security for these lands and sites from and for visitors to see and value for generations to come. The National Monument is managed in a manner that allows recreational usage. The monument has 4 significant sites that visitors can access, Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon, Piedras Marcadas Canyon, and the Volcano Day Usage trails.

Approximately 200,000 years earlier, six volcanic eruptions developed a 17-mile-long (27 km) cliff containing thick basalt layers of rock and cooled lava. When the volcanoes emerged, molten lava varying in depth from 5 to 50 feet flowed downhill utilizing old water methods, called arroyos, which eventually formed triangular, peninsula formed channels that flowed around hills.

The hills have actually long since worn down away with time, while the stronger basalt rocks remained, which eventually split and formed canyons and cliffs. As time progressed, more eruptions occurred and thicker lava cooled to form the now-extinct volcanic cones to the west of the monument; these cones can be seen from the top of the mesa. This special formation of the landscape is called reverse topography.


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