Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A balanced look at Kasha-Katuwe

with 23 comments

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks in northern New Mexico is such an intriguing place that I feel I owe you another look at it from our June 12th visit. In particular, the place is known for its many balanced rocks, as shown above and then a little more closely below at a different location. The undulating strata of the rocks have a charm of their own as well.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2017 at 5:00 AM

23 Responses

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  1. The undulating strata you pointed out remind me of Monument Rocks, although in that location the effect is more subtle and the tops of the rocks aren’t nearly so dramatic because they’ve eroded differently.

    In the previous photo, it was termite mounds. Here, the two formations in the middle of the first photo remind me of Liberian “bush devils.” It’s partly shape and partly perspective, since many of the devils utilized stilts to raise themselves up above the crowds. Even looking at the photo rather than at the rocks themselves recalls the experience of looking up at the devils.


    August 17, 2017 at 6:03 AM

    • I can see from your linked photo why these rocks reminded you of African bush devils. I wonder if one of those ever posed near a geological formation like one of these in Africa or elsewhere. It seems highly likely one would have posed near an African termite mound. And now you’ve made me think of flying dervishes with and the roughly conical shape their swirling skirts assume.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2017 at 6:43 AM

    • I thought termite mounds in the previous photo, too.


      August 17, 2017 at 7:22 AM

  2. Continuing the African theme, my first thought was the Herero women of Namibia, Botswana and Angola. The colour of the Herero clothing is missing from the tent rocks but it was the shape and the desert setting which brought the Herero to my mind.


    August 17, 2017 at 7:26 AM

  3. What’s the erosion here? Wind? Water?


    August 17, 2017 at 3:51 PM

    • A combination of wind, rain, and freezing versus heating. Here’s what one source says: “The hoodoos, erosional cones, and pedestal rocks that characterize Tent Rocks form as the result of differential erosion. Water and, to a lesser extent, wind erosion preferentially attacks the moderately-indurated sand and ash grains around the base of large blocks in the gravel-rich beds. Eventually, the gravel clasts rest on pedestals, thus protecting the underlying sand and ash from further erosion. As time passes, the capstones are gradually undermined and the rocks topple, leaving an unprotected cone.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2017 at 5:07 PM

  4. […] addition to balanced rocks at Kasha-Katuwe in northern New Mexico on June 12th, here’s a balanced jimsonweed flower (Datura wrightii). […]

  5. It is always so interesting to see what wind and time do to rock.


    October 9, 2017 at 2:33 PM

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