There are things in Chaco Canyon older than the stone ruins. The stone from which the pueblos were built was cut from the 400-foot-tall sandstone bluffs remaining where the wash has eroded them.
The sandstone formed from a seabed of 60 to 80 million years ago. Any examination of the sandstone quickly reveals things that look like twisted, corroded rebar. It’s not.
During the Cretaceous a shrimp-like crustacean burred into the sandy seabed, creating a network of tunnels. To keep the tunnels from collapsing from sea wave motions, these crustaceans cemented sand particles to the walls.
As the ocean receded, heavy particles of iron, mercury, and other minerals suspended in the water settled into the and filled the crustaceans’ abandoned tunnels. The particles hardened as the seabed dried. The time and the weight of sediments laying on top compressed the sand into sandstone.
So while the crustacean is long gone, its home remains ... just like the Chacoans.
Posted by Bud Russo