Saturday, November 3, 2012

Flash Flood Man

 Last week I had the great fortune to spend time wandering around the Cedar Mesa sandstone (one of my favorite Permian deposits) Usually I am content to examine the red and white layering. The white a nice beach sand and the red debris from the Ancestral Uncompahgre Mountains.  But this time we happened to spy some rock art high on the Cedar Mesa cliffs.

This was one of my favorite panels. The cliff face is directly above the confluence of three nice sized drainages.

Below is a close up showing the image of arms help out to the side and wavy lines extending across the picture. It doesn't take much imagination to see that the arms were once connected to a body that has ironically been dissolved by water running down the cliff face. Often times these wavy lines indicate water and so this image looks like a figure standing in belly button deep water. 

Given the location of this image at the confluence of three drainages it is not a big stretch to suggest that this figure was made to warn people of high water.  Below is a flash flood sign taken from a National Park web site. There are just a few similarities between the ancient rock art and the modern traffic sign.