Mesa Verde National Park in Montezuma County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Natural Seep Springs
Where is the Water?
Moisture, in the form of rainfall or snowmelt, percolates through porous sandstone layers until it reaches a dense, impermeable layer of shale. Prevented from percolating farther downward, the water is forced to the rock surface resulting in a seep spring in the canyon wall.
Throughout Mesa Verde, seep springs can be found at the base of the Cliff House Sandstone and Point Lookout Sandstone formations. These springs provided a ready source of fresh water for the Ancestral Puebloans. Where they lacked such springs, villagers had to collect water from potholes, creek bottoms, distant year-round springs, or build reservoirs.
Mancos Shale – Beginning more than 90 million years ago, thick layers of clay and silt were deposited when this region was covered by a shallow inland sea. The soft, easily eroded material is called Mancos Shale.
Point Lookout Sandstone – As the sea temporarily withdrew a little more than 80 million years ago, shallow water beaches and delta sands were deposited. They are now exposed in the cliffs of the Point Lookout Sandstone.
Menefee Formation – About 80 million years ago,
Cliff House Sandstones – Beginning a little less than 80 million years ago, the sea once again advanced across the area. In the shallow water, sand was deposited in thick layers giving rise to the Cliff House Sandstone. More recently, erosion created alcoves that became homes to the cliff dwellers.
(Upper Left Photo Caption)
New Fire House in Fewkes Canyon shows the alcoves and niches formed in the Cliff House Sandstone.
— Photo courtesy of Mary Griffits
(Lower Center Photo Caption)
Seep springs at the base of the Cliff House Sandstone provided fresh water for the Ancestral Puebloans.
— Photo courtesy of National Park Service
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 37° 16.661′ N, 108° 29.008′ W. Marker is in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, in Montezuma County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 10 3 miles west of Moccasin Mesa Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Geologic Overlook in Mesa Verde National Park. Marker is in this post office area: Mesa Verde National Park CO 81330, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Monument to Time (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Far View Reservoir (approx. 2.8 miles away); Prehistoric Mesa Verde Reservoirs (approx. 2.8 miles away); Mancos Valley (approx. 4.4 miles away); Mesa Verde Administrative District (approx. 6½ miles away); Canyon Barriers (approx. 7.8 miles away); Fire Temple (approx. 7.8 miles away); Oak Tree House (approx. 7.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mesa Verde National Park.
Categories. • Environment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 31, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 391 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 31, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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