- Sep 8, 2020
- Reaction score
Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. At least 1000 years old, it had structures five and six stories high prior to the earliest brush of colonial impact from the Spaniards.
What stability of surroundings would lead a people to be so firmly established for so very long, with no risk of running short of food or resources? Especially in a seemingly random spot in the middle of enormous mountains and plains?
This is what the Rio Grande looks like that runs near Taos.
To come right to my hypothesis:
The massive plain in which Taos is located is actually an enormous ancient lakebed. And by "ancient," I mean as of a few hundred years ago there was still a lake there.
An earthquake occurred which caused a massive crack the length of the lake. It was very thin, but extremely deep, and the water rushed into the new divide in the earth. Gravity did its work, and rocks and dirt were swept downstream, carving a gorge wider and wider.
The lake eventually was completely emptied, leaving behind a plain, and a massive gorge running through the middle of it.
The lake appears in this 1536 map.
This 1597 map shows it -- or, at least, a large lake that is no longer there.
This 1657 map shows it unambiguously, as Rio Grande is also known as Rio del Norte.
So, too, this 1659 map.
In 1687, an important change is shown to have taken place. Rio del Norte now drains into the Gulf of Mexico, instead of to the west. It begins flowing the same southwesterly direction from the lake, but then sharply switches course and goes east. This is the same Rio del Norte as on previous maps: the lake is still located shortly to the north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's simply switched sides of the continent it drains to.
Please note that the Continental Divide, which determines whether rivers empty to the west or east side of the continent, isn't located too far distant from this and could have switched due to techtonic changes we're simply not aware of and that went unmentioned in the version of history we were handed down.
By the time of this 1719 map, the lake was gone.
1st edit: added map thumbnails.
Note: This OP was recovered from the KeeperOfTheKnowledge archive.
Note: Archived SH.org replies to this OP: Rethinking Taos New Mexico, the Rio Grande, the impacts of earthquakes, and the ancient lakes of North America