Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wupatki National Monument

Wuptaki National Monument is just north of Sunset Crater. Following the road from the crater north along the park road, there are several pueblos dating to 800 to 1000 years ago. The pueblos have been reconstructed to preserve and interpret the history of the peoples who once resided and raised crops in this desolate dry land.

When the construction of some pueblos included the use of the volcanic rock that overlaid the sandstone, it helps to date these constructions to be after Sunset Crater erupted about 1000 years ago.

The Wupatki Pueblo has been extensively preserved.

In this complex is a restored ball court -- the arena of the day for groups to play and compete.

Once getting all warmed up, there was a blow hole just a few feet from the ball court. That was the place to cool off. At my feet is the grated opening to the cavern. As I stood there the air was blowing upward to cool the warmth my body acquired as I took photos in the ball court.

How does the blow hole work.... According to the sign: There is a large underground cavern that has been created through volcanic action and water erosion. The actual blowhole can actually either exhale or inhale air depending upon the difference between air temperature and atmospheric pressure on the surface and the conditions inside the cavities. If the air outside is cooler than inside, air will rush into the hole because the air outside is more dense. The air will blow out of the hole if the air outside is hotter than inside because the air outside is less dense. High and low pressure weather systems will also have the same effect.

Enough geology for today. Time to head out and explore...


  1. sorry we missed you in sun crater...still haven't left sedona area...now at the elks...jil

  2. When I look at the dry sage landscape, I wonder where the Indians got their water? and shade and firewood?

  3. Jil,
    You gotta move faster to keep up with me. :-) No doubt the photo ops at Sedona are keeping Tom busy.
    An issue that the archeologists also deal with. They did create terraces to retain the water for the crops. There is no flowing stream in this arid land. Where did they get their water?


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