The “Blow Hole” of Wupatki National Monument
WUPATKI NATIONAL MONUMENT — Absorbed as they are by the magnificence of the scenery surrounding them, most people who visit these ancient ruins walk right past “the blow hole” because it looks more like a square sandstone bench than part of an archeological dig. Located near the ceremonial ball court east of the major ruins, the blow hole is a crevice in the earth’s crust that creates the impression that it’s capable of breathing. It connects to an earth crack, an underground passage formed by earthquake activity in the Kaibab limestone bedrock.
The hole reacts to barometric pressure above ground. When the air is warm and light above, the cold air from below blows out with such force that it can make your hair stand straight up. But when the air gets heavy and moist, it reverses itself and sucks the air down.
To date, no one has figured out what, if any, use the blow hole served for the ancient ones who built the Wupatki complex. Today, the Hopi descendants of the original builders call it “Yaaponsta” (the Wind Spirit). The Wupatki ruins are about 30 miles northeast of Flagstaff off Highway 89.
That blowhole is a nice bit of relief on a hot day. Everyone who hasn’t been there before really should see Wupatki and Sunset Crater. The lava flows at Sunset Crater are crazy-spectacular.
We’ve been visiting Wupatki since the days when cattle grazed freely over the site – an amazing place. There are times when you can almost hear voices…and one time when we could swear we heard children laughing, even though there was not another person within miles.
I was fortunate enough to work in Wupatki for a time for the Park Service. It is a magical place; much more than that seen by the simple day visitor, and yes Jim, the children are there.
Marc, Is the Wuptaki blowhole from methane gas? Also if you take the road back past the other ruin and all the way to the little Colorado River, once you cross the river are technically on Indian reservation land??
If you go to Wupatki don’t miss the turn off to Wukoki just before you enter Wupatki. It’s about a 1/2 mile away as a singular ruin site in the middle of wide open plains. It stirs the imagination of settlers in the area 800-1000 years ago. Purely magical.