January 4, 2006

Tent Rocks and Dad Returns from the Dead

Don't be alarmed, we didn't find a mummy at Tent Rocks - that's my dad performing his typical wacky humor. When he got to the top of this climb he stopped to call his office on his cell phone. When you are that close to heaven who do you think of calling? My mom borrowed the phone and called my sister and grandmother who were vacationing in Arizona. Perhaps the good cell phone reception was coming from the giant dish mounted in Los Alomos National Laboratory a couple of dozen miles away.

Back to happier thoughts - about these Tent Rocks. They natural wonder is formally known as Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. The Bureau of Land Management website describes these natural wonders.

"The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.” In close inspections of the arroyos, visitors will discover small, rounded, translucent obsidian (volcanic glass) fragments created by rapid cooling. Please leave these fragments for others to enjoy.

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet."

Tent Rocks