Obsidian Ridge

Shining and blackest black: the obsidian of the Jemez Mountains at one of its prehistoric sources.

The closest road had been closed for years—at least since the Las Conchas fire in 2011—and was blocked  by the enormous trunks of dozens of burned and wind-fallen Ponderosas. We hiked the dusty three miles in.

For thousands of years, prehistoric miners knocked down big  cobbles of obsidian into pieces more easily carried to distant pueblos, where they would be knapped into knives, scrapers, projectile points. What is left is debitage; whole acres of mesa glitter with a pavement of black glass.

5 thoughts on “Obsidian Ridge”

  1. Hi Betsy,

    I always enjoy your posts. I even got a new word out of this one, debitage (look out, Scrabble opponents.)

    I think you would really enjoy a visit to Newberry Volcanic National Monument in Oregon. It is more interesting than nearby Crater Lake, and no lines of tour buses. We camped right in Paulina crater next to the lake. There is a short trail to a whole obsidian flow, only a geologic eyeblink old. Like your site it was an important source of a vital material, though by comparison quite recent. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/deschutes/recarea/?recid=38304

    Dale

    On Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 9:52 AM WORLD-BUILDING and WILDERNESS: wrote:

    > Betsy James posted: ” Shining and blackest black: the obsidian of the > Jemez Mountains at one of its prehistoric sources. The closest road had > been closed for years—at least since the Las Conchas fire in 2011—and > was blocked by the enormous trunks of dozens of burne” >

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