Published on August 29, 2013 by Amy
The Hopi Mesas. The Hopi Indians live on three distinct mesas in northeastern Arizona. These mesas are actually one finger-like geologic formation with three southward-projecting points. The mesa structures are designated as First, Second, and Third Mesas, with several different villages located at each individual mesa.
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The Hopi Mesas represent a very special place of the past and present. Because of the unique nature of this place, it is strongly advised to read the Hopi Tribe’s visitor information links before your visit. Please note that certain Hopi villages may be off limits to visitors on certain days and at certain times.
Most of the mesa is distinguished by colorful layered sandstone with numerous formations laid down over millions of years. Sizable seams of low-sulphur coal lie within the Wepo formation at depths ranging from 35 to 250 feet. Since World War II, rapid development in the western United States has resulted in a dramatic population increase of approximately 350%. This makes coal deposits located on the adjoining Hopi and Navajo Reservations extremely valuable to this energy hungry region. In the mid 1960′s, the Hopi and Navajo, joint owners of the coal, at the urging of the United States and various energy companies, signed coal leases establishing the largest surface coal mining operation in the nation.
The Hopi signed only after being assured by the United States that Hopi reliance on the N-aquifer would not be effected. However, despite its economic benefits, the coal mine is not without controversy among the Hopi, primarily because of its significant consumption of N-Aquifer water. The Hopi oppose the mine’s industrial use of this pristine and limited supply of groundwater, the only source of drinking water for the Hopi – and support an alternative supply of water for Hopi. While the Hopi continue to insist on an end to Peabody’s pumping, they also realize that this is not the only threat to the N-Aquifer.