. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pueblo Canyon Tent Rocks

Today I went for a run with some friends down Pueblo Canyon here in Los Alamos. We started at the Aquatic Center at about 7200 feet and descended along the Ranch School trail until we reached the bottom of the canyon at about 6600 feet where the Pueblo Canyon trail began. The trail was lush with ponderosa pines, oaks, and wildflowers as well as that sage-like bush that grows everywhere here and that left yellow pollen stains on my socks.

This was my first time down the trail but friends had told me that there were some great rock formations that I just had to see. Of course I had to go along. As you might know, I live in an area that is covered in volcanic rocks that were laid down after the Valles Caldera volcano behind our town exploded about 1.2 million years ago. Alternating layers of pumice, tuff, and welded tuff were layered over the basalt from the Rio Grande Rift spreading center. After the layering, rainstorms carried huge chunks of lava over the surface that just sat there. Over time, water from the mountains carved out the canyons around the Pajarito Plateau. One of the really cool geologic features in the Pueblo Canyon are the tent rocks (see photo, below).

Tent rocks are formed due to the water erosion washing away the softer tuff over time. They are shaped like cones or teepees, hence the name "tent." I've heard that tent rocks are very rare and are only found in certain areas of the world such as the southwestern US and people come from all over to see ours.

Now, if there was a big chunk of that lava sitting on top of the softer tuff, it acted as a protector to the rock below it. The water washing away the sediment went around the rock and over time, a feature called a hoodoo was formed. The caprocks of lava were left balanced on the columns of tuff. Hoodoos are really neat geologic formations that always deserve a chuckle, not only for their name, but also for their various shapes. Here are a few in the canyon. Enjoy!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everytime I see your scenery (both in person and in photos) I am absolutely amazed with the beauty. I am so glad you are getting out and enjoying your surroundings. Makes me want to take a trip out to the beach. My favorite here in CA. Mom