|Valles Caldera Grande, Jemez Mountains, NM|
|wild candytuft (?) in the caldera|
What I didn't understand is this: why no trees? Ponderosa pine and aspen grew at elevations both above and below the caldera, so why not in the caldera itself? Is the ground too saturated with water? The caldera supported a luxurious grass thatch, even with the recent wildfires and historic grazing. Candytuft and marsh marigold (questionable IDs) were the only non-grass plants active at this point in the season.
We could see an abundance of human activity despite the remoteness of the location. The Valles Grande has a (now defunct) ranch within it, and shards of flaked obsidian near the overlooks marked the points where native peoples had sat and worked the stone long ago. The presence of the obsidian shards on the soil surface is a testament to the relative remoteness of the locations we toured. Surely more travelled trails would have had these remains pocketed years ago. It is also possible that the tremendous fires of the past ten years have exposed these remains at the surface.
|Unmolested flint knappings at the soil surface|
|Compare the brown areas to the green|
|Mineralized soil and dead trees, 4 yrs later|