Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is a distinctive group of rock formations situated in the foothills of the Jemez Mountains, north-central New Mexico, U.S., between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, about 40 miles southwest of the latter. The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks features big tent-shaped rocks hugging the steep cliffs of Peralta Canyon, the product of potent forces of vulcanism and erosion, which have built up and then torn down this landscape. The unique cone-shaped tent rock shaped out of pumice, ash, and tuff deposits more than 1,000 feet thick that escapes from volcanic eruptions from Jemez volcanic field that occurred six to seven million years ago.
Over this, “pyroclastic flow” composed of rock fragments and searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche. Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles. As a result, the tent rocks cones have cores composed of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder cap-rocks. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant cap-rocks and are decaying. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet. The Kasha-Katuwe area was populated by humans for over 7,000 years.
In the history, during the 15th century the ancestors of present-day Pueblo Indian peoples built pueblos here and left numerous petroglyphs and ruins to make available evidence of their habitation. Even though a Spanish expedition was passed through in 1598, the first modern settlers even did not arrive until the late 1700s. The unique monument’s name is derived from the Keresan language of the area’s Pueblo people which means ‘white cliffs’. The area was designated a National Monument in 2001.