A Little about the Geological History of the Big Empty

Yesterday out at the Refuge I stopped to take photos of the sign beside the entrance. You can see from the way it is written that it strives to appeal to kids.

I figured since everyone who reads my blog is getting an education in this little-known remote valley, I might as well share something I find amazing. When I think of a valley, I think of something cut by a meandering river. That’s what I learned in 8th grade geology (one of my favorite classes ever because it lent itself to drawing pictures). But this immense valley is an immense rift valley. One of the most common rocks lying around is scoria; hardened lava, bubbles and all.

The Valley formed BEFORE the river. There are places in the southern end of the valley where the Rio Grande is busy cutting into the surface, but generally, the Rio Grande just comes down the mountain and the valley — already here — says, “Slow down, river, look around.” And that’s what it does. Looking at my town from space you see something that looks like an OLD river.

The Star is more or less my house, the golf course, etc. It’s a little difficult to find the main thread of the Rio Grande

My prize winning story is published in the literary magazine put out by the Friends of the Alamosa Library. That publication is Messages from the Hidden Lake. Since I feel a strange connection to this place — and have since the beginning — that title resonates with me, alluding to a time when the Sandhill Cranes were coming through, but human beings were not. I love science because it opens windows to things that we, trapped in time as we are, couldn’t see any other way.


9 thoughts on “A Little about the Geological History of the Big Empty

  1. Sounds like a wonderful place Martha. I can see the attraction of being in that space and standing in awe of nature and what has gone before 🙂

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