POTD: Mogollon Graffiti #1

Mogollon Graffiti #1
Three River Petroglyph Site, New Mexico

The title of this image was created tongue-in-cheek and I probably should not use it for fear of somehow encouraging contemporary rock graffiti. But, it made me think about the difference in our cultural reaction to rock art from the distant past and contemporary messages and art left on rocks which are generally considered to be a kind of desecration.

How old does rock art have to be to pass from being unwanted graffiti to cultural and historical artifacts? I don’t know but the Jornada Mogollon petroglyphs certainly seem to have reached that age as they are between 600 and 1100 years old. According to the BLM website, the Three Rivers Petroglyph site contains¬† “More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico’s northern Chihuahuan Desert. That’s a lot of rock art. I wonder how they counted them all. When I asked that question at the visitor’s center their not particularly informative reply was “students.”

POTD: Grow Fast or Die

Grow Fast or Die
White Sands National Monument
New Mexico

With shifting dunes, sand often starts to bury plants. The only way to stay alive is to grow fast enough to keep up with the sand. But the inverse can also happen, i.e., the sand around a plant may be disappearing, blown away by the wind. In that case a plant needs to be able to create an island of stabilized ground around roots. The plant can then end up surviving, albeit on a pedestal of sandy soil sometimes reaching 15 or 20 feet high.