LEGEND OR LIE: “A” Mountain crater – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2021-09-05 15:16:20 –

Tucson, Arizona — A popular Tucson landmark is a legendary source that is said to date back millions of years.

“We live in an interesting place with thousands of years of history,” said Homer Thiel.

Tucson archaeologist Homer Thiel is familiar with the history of southern Arizona. But does it include a meteorite that hits the foot of Mt. “A” and leaves behind the craters that still exist there to this day?

That’s a legend, but before explaining what actually caused the crater on the “A” mountain, we need to explain another legend about how the mountain was first formed.

Pat Paris

Thiel is a project manager Archeology of the desert He says there was no volcanic eruption that created the Sentinel Peak (the so-called “A” mountain), but he says the mountain was formed by volcanic activity 10 to 20 million years ago.

“It was just pushed up from below. Most of the Tucson Mountains are volcanic in origin, as are the mountains of Flagstaff,” said Thiel. “So there was a volcano that was erupting here in Tucson millions of years ago.”

And maybe the meteorite that made the crater … that’s a lie.

To understand what really happened, we need to go back thousands of years. The people of Tohono O’odham set up a settlement at the foot of Mt. “A” called Stjukson or the Black Base. The black base comes from volcanic rocks. The name Stjukson eventually transformed into Tucson.

“In 1879, St. Joseph’s sister decided to build a hospital, which is St. Mary’s Hospital,” explained Thiel. “They needed source rock for the foundation, so they set up this quarry on the side of the Sentinel Peak or” A “mountain, which is called today. Basalt is very heavy, very dense and makes a great foundation stone. “”

According to Thiel, the rocks from the quarry were also erected on the foundations of many houses around Arizona and on the rock walls surrounding part of the university campus.

Shake in the quarry "NS" Mountain

Pat Paris

“They were built in the 1910s, almost at the same time college students put a big” A “on the side of the” A “mountain,” Thiel said.

The quarry almost led to the collapse of Mt. “A”. In the mid-1920s, a couple acquired 200 acres of mountain mining rights.

“They were basically planning to take off the summit of Mount’A’,” Tiel recalled. “The city of Tucson decided it wasn’t a good idea, so they asked an internal bureau to overturn that decision. That’s how we built the park there.”

Mountain “A” was saved and the quarry was closed. Over time, the legend that meteorites created craters on the side of Mt. “A” was born. The legend we know now is a lie.


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