National Park: Mesa Verde

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Mesa Verde is a National Park in Montezuma County, Colorado that notably preserves the largest amount of ancient Puebloan artifacts and cave dwellings. It is home to a structure called The Cliff Palace which is the largest cliff dwelling in all of North America. Mesa Verde 's canyons were created by streams that slowly eroded the dense sandstone that covers the area. Mesa Verde National Park elevations ranging from about 6,000 to 8,572 feet, the highest elevation at “Park Point.” The terrain in the park is now a transition zone between the low desert plateaus and the Rocky Mountains. Throughout the park visitors are able to see thousands of alcoves. Alcoves are big, arched recessions formed in a cliff wall. They are formed when water that seeps…show more content…
Currently, about 74 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, five species of amphibians, six species of fishes, and over 1,000 species of insects and other invertebrates spend at least part of the year within park boundaries. Coyotes, deer and other large animals are also found in many places throughout the park. The Nature Conservancy has classified all of Mesa Verde National Park within their Network of Conservation Areas because of exceptional occurrences of rare plant and animal species. Mesa Verde is somewhat a Chaparral biome as well. Chaparral is a biome that is dominated by dense, spiny shrubs as well as coniferous trees. Mesa Verde is dominated by tree main plant communities; The shrub-steppe community, the pinyon-juniper woodland, the mountain shrub community, and the Gambel oak-Douglas-fir…show more content…
Pueblo people built interconnected, year-round “houses” called pueblos. The first pueblos appeared in Mesa Verde sometime after 650 but by 850 more than half of Mesa Verdeans lived in them. The nomadic Puebloans quickly found it hard to support their growing population on just foraging, hunting, and gardening, which made them increasingly reliant on domesticated corn. This change forced them to stay in the area for long periods of time which inevitably put an end to their nomadic lifestyle. A severe drought from 1130 to 1180 led to rapid depopulation in many parts of the San Juan Basin, particularly at Chaco Canyon. As the extensive Chacoan system collapsed, people increasingly migrated to Mesa Verde, causing major population growth in the area. This led to a depleted source of wildlife and space while also forcing the Puebloans to make more pueblos in an attempt to fit the overflow of people. While the Puebloans are mainly known for their cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde they were also known for their advanced astrology and agriculture methods and

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