Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Bandelier National Monument preserves the homes of the Ancestral Pueblo People. It is named after Swiss anthropologist Adolph Bandelier, who researched the cultures of the area. The main attraction of the monument is Frijoles Canyon, containing a number of ancestral pueblo homes, kivas, rock paintings and petroglyphs. Some of the dwellings were rock structures built on the canyon floor; others were "cavates" produced by voids in the tuff of the canyon wall and carved out further by humans.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, New Mexico

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks are located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by a volcanic explosion. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks.

It’s a tight hike in the canyon to reach the top. The views are incredible on the way up, it’s like being on another planet.

Our Google Map Location

Very Large Array (VLA) New Mexico

The observatory consists of 27 independent antennas, each of which has a dish diameter of 82 feet and weighs 230 Short tons. The antennas are arrayed along the three arms of a Y-shape (each of which measures 13 miles long). Using the railroad tracks that follow each of these arms they can be moved along the Y. You might remember these from the 1997 Jodie Foster film Contact, much of the outdoor footage was shot at the VLA site.

Our Google Map Location

White Sand, New Mexico

The desert is located in Tularosa Basin New Mexico. Its white sands are not composed of quartz, unlike most desert sands, but of gypsum and calcium sulfate. Unlike other desert sands, it is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sands reflect, rather than absorb, the sun's rays.

Now on to the fun stuff! Sledding the dunes!!! We all took turns sledding down the dunes, the sand is so fine and compacted the plastic discs slide like it was snow.

Our Google Map Location

Roswell, New Mexico

The Roswell UFO Incident was the alleged recovery of extra-terrestrial debris, including alien corpses, from an object which crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in June or July 1947. Since the late 1970s the incident has been the subject of intense controversy and the subject of conspiracy theories as to the true nature of the object which crashed.

We did find many aliens here (Insert X Files music here), we started at the UFO research center. Here you can see us with some of the captured aliens. Roswell has more alien decorations than any other place we’ve seen. Walmart, KFC, McDonalds all have their alien paraphernalia displayed proudly, even the city street lights are alien shaped heads.

Our Google Map Location

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns includes a large cave chamber 3rd largest in the Americas and 7th largest in the world, the Big Room, a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 350 feet high at the highest point.

Seventeen species of bats live in the park, including a large number of Mexican Free-tailed Bats. It has been estimated that the population of Mexican Free-tailed Bats once numbered in the millions but has declined drastically in modern times. The cause of this decline is unknown but the pesticide DDT is often listed as a primary cause.