Explore Cerro Pedernal In The Chama Valley With PEEC

The Cerro Pedernal. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Hikers can take a step back in time and explore one of the earliest mineral deposits worked by prehistoric man in North America.

Join geologist Patrick Rowe Saturday, June 20  to explore Cerro Pedernal, a prominent landmark in the Chama Valley, rich in both beauty and history. The Cerro Pedernal is narrow mesa, capped by volcanic rock and containing the outcrops of the bedded Pedernal Chert Member of the Abiquiu Tuff several hundred feet below its flat summit. Artifacts made of Pedernal Chert have been found hundreds of miles from its source.

Editor’s note: The following two paragraphs come from a paper written in 1974 by A. Helene Warren on page 87 of the  “New Mexico Geol. Soc. Guidebook, 25th Field Conf., Ghost Ranch (Central-Northern N.M.), 1974.” https://nmgs.nmt.edu/publications/guidebooks/downloads/25/25_p0087_p0094.pdf (p.3 of the pdf).

Some of these date back to the earliest human occupation of northern New Mexico, 10,000 or 11,000 years ago, while other artifacts belong to the 20th century. The steep mountain slopes, the canyons and the meadows, and the hummocky landslide areas of Cerro Pedernal all contain evidence of the quarries, work-shops, and camps of the American Indian.

In Spanish, “pedernal” means flint, or a variety of quartz, compact with conchoidal fracture and translucent edges. It is not known when the mountain received its Spanish name, but in 1696, according to Father Velez de Escalante, the “rebellious Tewas, having deserted their pueblos, withdrew to the mountains, some to the cerro de los Pedernales (Pedernal Mountain) which is to the west side of the Chama River, beyond Abiquiu …”. The Indian name for Cerro Pedernal is Tsiping, or “flaking stone” mountain.

This event is free, but advance registration is required. Please note that this outing is limited to 30 people. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center.

For more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit http://www.peecnature.org./ email programs@peecnature.org or call 505.662.0460.


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