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Enchanted by Llamas

Llamas, iconic animals of the Andes Mountains, have been the trusted companions of humans for thousands of years. Llamas are superb pack animals and excel at moving on rough, rocky, and steep terrain. I’m happy to report my good fortune in recently taking an overnight camping trip with Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas on the edge of Capitol Reef National Park. It was a fabulous trip!

Turning Back Time – Rope

Rope made from twisted or braided plant fibers can be traced back tens of thousands of years. Preservation is rare, so most artifacts have been lost in the dust of time – but there are hints about rope production, including tools that may have been used to make them. The rope bridges of the Incas were impressive structures that could extend across greater distances than any masonry bridge built in history before that time.

By |2024-04-04T06:39:23-07:00April 3rd, 2024|Ancient Andean Cultures|2 Comments

Turning Back Time – Stone Tools

Stone tools work best when made from specific kinds of rock. Careful selection of rock types began early when our human ancestors (hominins) first began using stone tools millions of years ago. Volcanic rocks have been a preferred choice, from hominins to the ancient Andeans. And surprisingly, perhaps, the trail of stone tools continues into the present.

Hot News About Kilauea

On Kilauea in Hawaii, between January 27 and February 1, 2024, scientists have observed more than a thousand earthquakes and ground deformation that indicate pulses of magma are moving at shallow depth beneath the surface. The Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory (HVO) is closely monitoring this activity and notes that an eruption could occur with little warning.

By |2024-02-01T15:01:40-07:00February 1st, 2024|Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Did an Earthquake Trigger the Chavín Collapse?

Earthquakes have destroyed settlements and wreaked havoc on societies throughout human history. In my soon-to-be published book, "The Monumental Andes", I speculate that a major earthquake, perhaps combined with disastrous effects from El Nino weather patterns, could have contributed to the downfall of the Chavín culture that once flourished in the Cordillera Blanca region of modern northern Peru.

By |2024-01-18T07:20:34-07:00January 18th, 2024|Ancient Andean Cultures|6 Comments

Rock, Paper, and Three Maji

An unusual Christmas nativity scene with characters constructed from water-smoothed pebbles and including the Three Maji, or Wise Men, recently caught my attention. From materials ranging from rocks and paper to wood, ceramics, and beyond, all around the world there are captivating art displays of nativity scenes that represent the birth of Jesus.

By |2023-12-21T09:07:18-07:00December 21st, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|8 Comments

Andean Silver and the Taj Mahal

The extraordinary Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is a famous symbol of love and devotion. Tremendous wealth was required to construct this monument. There is a direct connection to precious metals of the Incas and their ancestors – and particularly, to silver from the Potosí mine high in the Andes Mountains.

By |2023-11-16T11:12:27-07:00November 16th, 2023|Ancient Andean Cultures, Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Mummies of Mice, Mammoths, and More

The spooky season of Halloween and Day of the Dead is the inspiration for this post about mummies. Specifically, of animals: mummified mice at the summit of a towering volcano in the Andes Mountains, a baby mammoth found in muddy sediment in Siberia, and the revered animals of the ancient Egyptians. Mummies have a long and fascinating history.

By |2023-11-01T06:51:32-07:00November 1st, 2023|Fabulous Fossils & More|2 Comments

Monoliths, Megaliths, and Ancient Quarries – Easter Island

Polynesians living on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) carved enormous stylized human figures known as moai thousands of years after ancient societies built the Stonehenge and Egyptian monuments. Easter Island, formed by three volcanoes that rose out of the sea, contains a variety of volcanic rocks. The ancient carvers carefully selected rocks and carved their statues between about 1250 and 1500 CE. Nearly 900 of the moai can be seen on the island today.

By |2024-06-10T07:12:11-07:00October 14th, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|2 Comments
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