High in the rugged Sierra Ancha
("wide mountains" in Spanish) of central Arizona are a multitude of prehistoric
ruins -- remnants of what (some) archaeologists call the Anchan and Salado
One of the most spectacular sets is this three-story structure, literally
clinging to vertical walls, within a narrow
gorge. This is not an easy place to visit, and probably an even less easy place in
which to live. From its narrow windows, it has a great view, though!
Built a little more than 700 years ago, this cliff-dwelling was probably only
occupied for a few decades. Why its residents constructed it, and why they left, is
one of the many such mysteries in the American Southwest.
The hard, durable quartzite is very old, dating from
time. The rocks in this area, and indeed much of the range, are put into what
geologists call the Apache Group -- a series of formations that resulted from a
very different landscape from today's.
If you want more information
about the Sierra Ancha,
download these two FREE short GeoStories
(PDF files, each <1MB):
Between a rock and the proverbial "tough place to be"?
These stone walls offer a refuge.