Parowan Gap Rock Art, Caves and Dinosaur Footprints

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North America » United States » Utah
January 11th 2011
Published: January 11th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Parowan Gap

The Parley Pratt Expedition discovered the petroglyphs at Parowan Gap in 1849. The pass is a classic example of a wind gap, an unusual geological landform marking where an ancient river cut a 600-foot-deep notch through the mountain. Native Americans used this ancient gap for thousands of years to provide easy passage through the Red Hills.

The north wall of Parowan Gap contains a huge gallery of Native American rock art. Most petroglyph sites contain figures of humans and animals. This petroglyph site contains many deeply inscribed geometric forms, along with some humans and animals. The most interesting feature of this site is a very large and deeply inscribed petroglyph known as the "Zipper". Many archaeologists believe the "Zipper" is a composite map (space) and numerical calendar (time).

On the Zipper Glyph. There were 180 tick marks. The angle between the arms of the glyph also closely approximated the horizontal traverse of the sunsets between the solstices. Consequently, we had a glyph of considerable size and detail which contains both the angular traverse of the sun and the number of days it takes to make that traverse. Furthermore the cairn system divids the solar traverse into four equal periods which matches the distribution of counts on the Zipper Glyph which is the same way the inter-soltitial period was divided at Rochester Creek. Effectively the evidence that the same calendar was functioning at Parowan Gap as discovered at Rochester Creek was accumulating in multiple layers of correlated data and observable events.

Several small caves also are scattered through out the area once inhabited by the prehistoric Indians, the walls of these small caves still show signs of torch's that once lit the rooms while the inhabitants etched petroglyph's on to the interior walls.

ome interesting paleontological resources as well. Near the petroglyphs are dinosaur tracks made by ornithopods, ceratopsians and theropods. These tracks (natural casts) occur in the Iron Springs Formation* and are usually in the fallen blocks of light yellow-brown sandstone. Some tracks do occur in place, but most are in the large fallen boulders, so check them first! Originally, these footprints were made in non-resistant mudstones which have since eroded away to expose the sandstone cast.

How to get There: From Cedar City go north on Main (or take Interstate 15 Exit 62) to UT 130. Continue north 13.5 miles, then turn east (right) 2.4 miles on a good gravel road to Parowan Gap.
From Parowan go north on Main to 400 North. turn west (left) for 10.5 miles on good gravel road (near Milepost 19).

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Large Cave - EntranceLarge Cave - Entrance
Large Cave - Entrance

The fallen rocks a result of a past earthquake

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