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METEOROLOGICAL-GEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF THE WUPATKI BLOWHOLE SYSTEM
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CALIF
Using meteorological and geological methods, a vast, inaccessible underground system of cavities in the Wupatki area of north central Arizona was investigated. The existence of some form of underground cavity is betrayed by drafts of wind, alternately entering and emerging from small blowholes and dry wells in the area. The blowhole-and-cavity system appears to be associated with fault fissures and solution-formed passages in the thick beds of the local Kaibab limestone and Coconino sandstone. By comparing the air intake and output of the blowholes with barometric pressure, the investigators estimated that the cavity had a volume of at least seven billion cubic feet. Tracers proved the interconnection of blowholes in areas at least 24 miles apart. A gravity survey indicated the absence of large caverns in the local area, at least, suggesting rather, sinuous or multiply branched passages linking the holes and wells. Besides developing a research tool of various potential uses, the project indicated a possible relationship between the system of caverns and the underground water drainage of the Flagstaff-Wupatki region. Author