NEXT MEETING: 6:00 PM, Wednesday, August 21, 2019, at the Roundup Lodge in San Lorenzo (Mimbres Valley). Potluck followed by general meeting, then our Featured Speaker: Gila National Forest archaeologist Bella Mollard explains "Ritual Landscapes of the Jornada Mogollon."

NEXT FIELD TRIP: TBA - watch this space.

12,000-Year-Old Paleoindian Footprints in New Mexico
Our GCAS Library: a Work in Progress

Chaco Canyon Petroglyph: Solar Eclipse or Coronal Mass Ejection?

Petroglyphs are open to interpretation - wide open - because the artists who pecked them into image from dur-cjweb.newscyclecloud.comthe rock left no written explanation of the images and little to no oral history to guide the present-day viewer. Therefore, all interpretations can be considered. Total eclipse or coronal mass ejection? Could be either. Could be both.

In 1992, the image on the right there [via The Journal] was discovered on a rock panel by participants of a field school/archaeological excavation in Chaco Canyon. (Such a find is reason enough to volunteer for a field school.) It looks like an image of the sun to most people. The rock panel on which it was pecked is now named Piedra del Sol (Rock of the Sun) in its honor. However, it might depict more than just an artistic sun design.

One of the petroglyph's discoverers, Professor J. McKim Malville, is attached to the University of Colorado Boulder's astrophysical and planetary sciences department. Based on his knowledge of celestial events, he and a colleague, professor José Vaquero of the University of Extremadura in Cáceres, Spain, performed research that led them to propose that this image may be a factual representation of the Sun’s corona, as it would have appeared in the Chaco Canyon region during a total eclipse combined with a coronal mass ejection. On July 11, 1097.

Malville's and Vaquero's research encompassed not just astronomical and tree-ring data to determine image from www.colorado.eduperiods of high solar activity; they also studied historical records of later, similar events. They compared the Piedra del Sol petroglyph to a European astronomer's sketch of a similar event that occurred in 1860. [Image on right via University of Colorado/Boulder.]  --->

image from further comparison, here on the left is an actual photograph of a total eclipse with a coronal mass ejection that occurred in 2012. [Image via Salvador Russo.]



Celestial event vs. solar flare vs. solar eclipse Sunburst like at Gila Bend  dots may mark solsticeBecause any interpretation of petroglyph images is as good as another, I submit to the reader of this blog the following two petroglyphs. They appear - at least to me - to depict a similar if not the same event. The first photo on the far left was taken at the Pony Hills petroglyph site. The second photo was taken of a petroglyph at the Apache Flats petroglyph site, only several miles east-southeast of Pony Hills. You be the judge.

/s/ webmaster



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)