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Indian petroglyphs (~100 B.C. to ~1540 A.D.) (Newspaper Rock, southeastern Utah, USA) 8 | by James St. John
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Indian petroglyphs (~100 B.C. to ~1540 A.D.) (Newspaper Rock, southeastern Utah, USA) 8

Anthropomorphs & animals - Indian petroglyphs (~100 B.C. to ~1540 A.D.) on desert varnish-covered quartzose sandstone (Wingate Sandstone, Lower Jurassic) in Utah.

 

This is part of a fantastic panel of prehistoric and historic petroglyphs that was carved by several groups - Archaic Indians, the Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Pueblo, and Ute. The dark coloration of the rock is desert varnish - a mineral-encrusted rock surface that is common in many desert settings. Desert varnish is composed of clay minerals, brick red-colored hematite, and/or black-colored manganese oxide minerals (for example, birnessite - www.mindat.org/min-680.html).

 

Scraping or hammering away at the desert varnish exposes the light-colored sandstone. The oldest petroglyphs are identified by the partial development of another layer of desert varnish - they are dark-colored than younger petroglyphs.

 

The petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock have been chemically restored, in response to vandalism by tourists in the past.

 

Locality: Newspaper Rock, Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, southeastern Utah, USA

 

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Taken on September 4, 2011