Moqui Cave, Kanab, Utah
Today I came upon what are called “Moqui Marbles”, and I learned that they are found right here in the high deserts of Utah---Moqui, named by the Anasazi-Hopi Native American Tribe that lived there long. It is believed that Moqui is from the Hopi religious word, Moki, or the dead. Most of them are found over in the Escalante Staircase area, but just a little ways from Zion, in Kanab, there was/is another concentration. Learning this, I decided to take a little side trip off my side trip on my way to Bryce, and I stopped at the Moqui Cave in Kanab.
Saying “Kanab” reminds me of the line in the movie, “Notting Hill,” where Hugh Grant tries to sell a travel journal to Roberts by enticing her with a “clever tale of a kabab.”--okay, so guess you had to be there!!!
I’ve traveled all over Utah in the past, and it still amazes me how rich is the Native American history here. Usually folks are aware of the national parks, Bryce, Zion, Arches and Canyonlands, but there are so many other sites worthy of a visit...Cedar Breaks, Kolob Canyon, Escalante Staircase, Hovenweep, Kanab and so many others. THIS is the way to learn about American history and USA geology--or geology in general!
A few miles north of Kanab, you’ll find the Moqui Caves. Yes, it’s a bit of a tourist attraction, but it’s a unique one. The family that runs it, has owned it for many generations, and talking with them was fascinating and historically informative! (Now isn’t this the way we’d all like to learn history?!) She told me how the ancient Anasazi used the caves for shelters thousands of years ago, but that her great great ....grandfather discovered them and turned them into a bar and club during the years of prohibition. The bar is still there, carved far into the back of the cave! I gather that this was before there were laws about defacing historical sites! In any event, she went on with her rollicking tale of the speakeasy days and then the long polygamous history of the family!! I and everyone else there was spellbound!
What I didn’t expect were the Dinosaur tracks preserved in the area! These were taken up from the area and preserved in the wall inside the cave.
So Moqui Marbles are this strange phenomenon where an iron composite forms a hard shell around sandstone, usually in a spherical shape. There seem to be many different scientific (and not so scientific!) theories as to how these were formed, from meteors to mollusks. Here are some theories!
Here are some interesting facts I learned about them and their use for healing and dream visioning by Shamans then and now.