Rock art by ancient Native American artists includes images of large mammals that are now extinct, the hunting weapons that people used, and much more. We can learn valuable information about ancient lives, traditions, and landscapes from rock art images when they are fit into the context of cultures and time.
Masked faces on ancient life-sized, mummy-like figures form a long line on the rock wall of a shallow alcove in a remote part of southern Utah. Known as the Great Gallery, the 200-foot-long (61 m) panel contains around 20 eerie looking triangular-shaped bodies with small heads. many researchers consider them among the finest examples of rock art in the Americas.
The deep and steep-walled Rio Grande gorge in northern New Mexico is remarkable. This large gash is developing because the Earth’s crust is pulling apart, creating a linear depression, or rift, that provides a convenient location for a large river to develop. On a recent trip I admired the river -- and desert bighorn sheep.
Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, the iconic giant sandstone mound in Australia that rises abruptly out of an expanse of flat desert, has always intrigued me. For thousands of years the indigenous Australians have considered Uluru a sacred site, and it is the focus of numerous myths and legends. I understand that mythic attraction – and the geologic history is just as captivating.