Montezuma Well

Montezuma Well
Montezuma Well is an active spring located 11 miles north of Montezuma Castle at an elevation of 3681 feet in Arizona's upper Sonoran Desert. The surface water of the well measures 368 feet across, whereas the well itself is 56 feet deep. The water is naturally warm and is highly carbonated - emerging at a flow of 1100 gallons per minute from up to four bottom vents.Although Montezuma Well is unique in that it contains several forms of plants and animals not found anywhere else in the world, it is impossible for fish to live there due to the high concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide in the water. The story of the Well's formation begins some 12 million years ago when a series of large, shallow lakes covered the Verde Valley. Over time the algae contained within these lakes transformed the dissolved limestone in the water into minute crystals, which sank to the lake bed and over several million years formed a layer of limestone called travertine. Geologists generally believe that an underground stream dissolved some of the softer limestone rock deep under the ground, forming caverns below the surface of the Verde Valley. As time passed these caverns became larger and larger, and at various points an underground stream would surface and form a spring. Over several million years these springs deposited large quantities of travertine around their openings - as the travertine accumulated, larger mounds formed, just like the one surrounding Montezuma Well. Then, as comparatively recent as a 11,000 years ago the underground caverns gradually collapses into a sunken pool, forming Montezuma Well. Humans first arrived at the Well shortly after it formed and for the next 9,000 years continued to use it as a rest spot. Then in 600 AD a native culture that resembled the Hohokams (Pima for "those who have gone") of central and southern Arizona, began to settle along the tributaries and river basin of the Verde Valley. These people lived in one-rim pit houses and diverted water from the Well to irrigate their crops of corn, beans and squash. Around 1,000 AD a new culture, closely related to Sinagua (Spanish for "without water"), began to flourish in the Verde Valley. They built masonry villages on hilltops and cliffs and between 1125 ad 1400 AD the thriving well based community supported some 200 people.For reasons as yet unknown, the Well village was abandoned in the early 1400s, with the Spanish explorers in 1583 finding the Native Americans no longer the irrigation farmers or cliff dwellers of the past, but hunter-gatherers and stream-bank farmers along nearby Beaver Creek. The present day Hopi, Pima, Yavapai and Apache cultures all revere Montezuma Well, with the Hopi still visiting the Well for prayer and water for their ceremonies. Montezuma Well became a section of Montezuma Castle National Monument in 1947 in order to ensure it's ongoing protection for future generations. View images of Montezuma Castle and Well by Jacquie Lumb and Richard Lumb here. Read about Montezuma Castle by Jacquie Lumb here.

Other Images of Arizona include: flora, wildlife, trees,

National Parks: Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon Info, Grand Canyon Map, Walnut Canyon, Walnut Canyon Info, Sunset Crater and Wutapki Monument, Sunset Crater Info, Wupatki Monument Info, Montezuma Castle and Well, Montezuma Castle Info, Petrified Forest, Petrified Forest Info, Painted Desert Info.

Attractions: Apache Trail, Apache Trail Info, Apache Trail Map, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, Desert Botanical Garden Info, Meteor Crater, Meteor Crater Info, Monument Valley Tribal Park, Monument Valley Info, Oak Creek Canyon, Oak Creek Info, Slide Rocks State Park, Slide Rocks Info, Taliesin West, Taliesin West, Arboretum at Flagstaff, Arboretum at Flagstaff Info. and Towns and Cities: Flagstaff and envrions, Flagstaff Info, Prescott, Prescott Info, Route 66 Info.

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