Thursday, April 14, 2011

Petroglyph hunting at Mouse's Tank, Valley of Fire, NV


Petroglyph hunting at Mouse's Tank, a box canyon in the Valley of Fire, NV. (Eastern Mojave Desert). The Navajo Sandstone is the same formation found in Red Rock Canyon and Utah's Zion National Park. The Valley of Fire, once the bottom of a deep ocean basin became a desert 150 to 180 million years ago; the dunes fossilized into sandstone; 65 million years ago, subduction along the North American plate caused faulting, uplifting so older limestone rock is now on top of younger redrock!

There were so many petroglyphs we couldn't see them all in one day! There were two hidden sandstone pools like large baths at the end of the boxw hich are catch-basins for runoff—and occasionally become a cistern for a waterfall.

The entire canyon (1/2 mile) is one vast storyboard. Sad that erosion has taken its toll and sides of rock faces have sloughed off, taking the ancient stories with them. We didn't have time to hike to AtlAtl Rock (even more petroglyphs). Next time.

 The canyon is named 'The Mouse's Tank' because a Southern Paiute Indian renegade,'Little Mouse,' who went wild whenever he got drunk, was accused of gunning down two prospectors and other crimes, hid out there in the 1890's.

 The petroglyphs are 4000 to 700 years old, and many were re-eched later. Different styles, enigmatic symbols. Not necessarily Paiute as the Lost City—aka Virgin Anasazi pueblo is nearby in the Moapa Valley.


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