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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:14 am 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah again,

Here's the synopsis of the third destination.

===

Day 2, Sunday 26 May 2013, Waterflow Petroglyphs

In my internet research for archeological sites in the Four Corners area, I stumble across a reference to an obscure site near the hamlet of Waterflow New Mexico. Since it is quite near to the sites visited the day before, we set out to find it using the scant directions from the web site I'd found.

[Reveal] Spoiler: At breakfast, I note a stylish rendition of a Four Corners map on the wall
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We drive west through and past Farmington and can see Hogback Mountain in the distance ahead
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As we approach some likely looking sandstone cliffs, we try to spot the trading post and mile markers 37 and 38 mentioned at the web site
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We find a handy spot to pull off the road near the cliffs and I soon spot a Plateau Side Blotched Lizard
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are no trails here and as I pick my way through the brush, I find some Blanketflowers in bloom
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As I scan the nearby cliff faces, I spot a cluster of swallow nests
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[Reveal] Spoiler: My lingering presence appears to upset the birds for they begin swarming up above
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I move on and soon find a recessed stretch of the cliffside behind a private gate with some petroglyph panels in the distance
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I must make heavy use of my zoom in order to capture the artwork
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are numerous geometric shapes
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A closeup of some of the shapes
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A huge chunk of rock has fallen off the cliff face, bearing some petroglyph remnants
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[Reveal] Spoiler: This small cluster is a mix of ancient glyphs and more modern graffiti
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[Reveal] Spoiler: This panel was difficult to capture as the angle with the sun offered scant contrast
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[Reveal] Spoiler: It is time to move on; as we continue westward to Shiprock, I manage to capture the famous volcanic neck, a sacred site within the heart of Navajo country
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Petroglyphs!! Yeah!!! :D :D

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Last edited by Ainia on Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:25 am 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah all,

Here's the final synopsis of the Four Corners road trip (warning--LOTS of pictures!! :D )

===

Day 2, Sunday 26 May 2013, Mesa Verde Ruins and Petroglyphs

From Shiprock New Mexico, we head north toward Colorado, crossing into the Ute Reservation and continuing to the Mancos Valley and Mesa Verde National Park.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Heading northward into Colorado, we are in Wiley Coyote country
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Chimney Rock is a well-known landform on the Ute Reservation
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A closeup of the top layers of Chimney Rock
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Farther north is Sleeping Ute Mountain
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As we turn eastward from Cortez, we are flanking the northern sides of a long mesa range
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After passing through the town of Mancos, we enter the park grounds and approach the visitor center
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We stop to stretch our legs and get some park maps; there is a petroglyph trail here so the choice is clear
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There is an impressive bronze sculpture just outside
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Mesa Verde is huge--more than 81 square miles. We must drive 20-some miles from the visitor center to our destination trailhead, both marked with blue circles here
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Here is a FULL-SIZE version of the same map
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The road ahead climbs to the top of the mesa and continues to wend its way around and through the high mesa tops
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[Reveal] Spoiler: At the top we can see the aftermath from the 2002 Long Mesa fire
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are awe-inspiring views of the Mancos Valley below
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After a 45-minute drive along a winding two-lane road, we find ourselves at the Chapin Mesa museum/bookstore/post office/information center
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The trail map from the visitor center helps us find the trail head and get started; we follow the route marked with blue arrows
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We can see Spruce Tree House at the trailhead; we will be descending a steep path to a point well below the ruins
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are flowers along the downward trail; a blooming Yucca...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...and a Firecracker Penstemon
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[Reveal] Spoiler: At the bottom the trail splits; we must bear to the left and begin climbing the cliff side
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There is a narrow squeeze between some boulders
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I spot a small cliff dwelling high up the cliff face across the canyon; this is the best my zoom can do
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are some spectacular views along the way
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We pass by a very small cluster of cliff dwellings
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Farther along, we find three Plateau Lizards sunning themselves, though two of them skitter away as we draw near
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are numerous snowy-white Fendlerbush
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After about an hour and a half with a great deal of ups and downs--and a few breathers--we finally arrive at Petroglyph Point
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are squiggles...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...handprints...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...spirals, animals, human figures...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The human figures come in many sizes and poses
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[Reveal] Spoiler: From here it is a short, steep climb to the mesa top and the return trail; the view up top is marvelous
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Up here the trail skirts the mesa edge and makes for much easier going; we encounter a very friendly Ground Squirrel, no doubt hoping for handouts
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Farther along, we pass by some Globe Mallow
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As we re-approach Spruce Tree House, we find a very colorful Collared Lizard
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A close view of some Spruce Tree House windows and T-doorways as we round the bend
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[Reveal] Spoiler: It is late afternoon and we have a long drive home, so we pack up and head toward the park entrance; along the way we see a Mule Deer out foraging
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The road toward Durango takes us past an interesting curio shop
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The countryside here is lush and green
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We reach Durango
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We pass by the General Palmer Hotel
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[Reveal] Spoiler: From the main road, we espy an old engine being serviced in the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train yard
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Heading south from Durango, we soon find ourselves at the New Mexico border
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The contrast between Colorado and New Mexico is both sudden and stark
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Once again, we find ourselves driving by Cabezon and Cerro Cuate at dusk
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[Reveal] Spoiler: End of day
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[Reveal] Spoiler: For the remaining drive to Albuquerque, I watch an interesting triangle in the sky
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It was a long day with many wonderful sights. Another true adventure! My only disappointment was in failing to find more petroglyphs... which means one thing--there are more road trips ahead!! :D

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Last edited by Ainia on Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:52 pm 
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Thanks, Ainia, fascinating photos! (And I personally love seeing the flowers and wildlife - so exotic to Europeans!)


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 Post subject: Upcoming research trip
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:16 am 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah everyone,

A June update:

I'm planning to head out for a more local research foray this weekend. Although I did a very brief hike to view the petroglyphs near the Three Sisters last summer, it will take a concerted effort to do them justice. There are numerous petroglyph sites all along the cliffsides of the volcanic mesa upon which the Sisters perch.

It is very hot and dry here right now (that is, even moreso than usual for this location and time of year), so it remains to be seen how I fare! I must prepare for extreme heat!! :shock:

More later...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:49 pm 
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As usual I'm enjoying reading of your adventures and wishing I could be there. I hope I didn't overlook a post about this and I don't know how useful it would be, but have you tried looking at aquifers in looking for the cleft? The Cavern must be connected to a major one so volcanic features nearish a good sized aquifer could have potential. The D'ni could've brought water a long way by aqueducts but it seems like there's a lot of free flowing water.

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 Post subject: Cleft and aquifers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:56 am 
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Shorah ventris,

Glad to see that you are enjoying my adventures! Your suggestion is an excellent one; I have investigated volcanic areas but have not investigated aquifers. I found a whole series of USDA New Mexico maps, a number of which could be helpful with this question.

[Reveal] Spoiler: NM aquifer thickness, very large image:
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As one might expect, the aquifer is thicker along the Rio Grande rift/river. It's also not surprising that the aquifer thickness decreases toward the south as it flows through the desert here. Thus, the northern areas appear likelier locations for the Cavern (which is in synch with my early speculation that the Taos area might be a likely place for a number of reasons).

[Reveal] Spoiler: NM aquifer depth from surface, very large image:
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The most interesting and relevant information from this map is that aquifer depth is only measured/mapped to about 500 feet below the surface. Since the Cavern is three *miles* beneath the surface, this map may or may not provide relevant information. It's highly likely that we have no measurements at all for the aquifer at such depths.

[Reveal] Spoiler: NM aquifer and geology:
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This map is interesting since it combines aquifer information with geology, in particular with some of the volcanic formations.

[Reveal] Spoiler: NM river basins:
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This map shows the differing river basins within the state.

I suppose the most important questions raised by these maps is how to determine the likeliest source for the water in the D'ni Cavern. It might be fed by surface water making its way down from directly above, or it might be fed by a water source deep beneath the surface. It's difficult to be sure how much of the latter might be known since our surface-dweller interests tend to be about resources we can actually access and make use of. Delving to a depth of three miles sub-surface is out of the ordinary for us. In terms of drilling for resources, the information I've been able to glean indicates that our deepest exploratory drilling goes to about 1-1/2 miles at most. Geologists studying the Earth's crust have achieved depths up to about 7-1/2 miles, but these bore holes are few and far between.

Although I'm not aware of any definitive historic records touching upon the initial condition of the Cavern when the D'ni first linked in, I think it likely that Ri'neref Wrote the descriptive book to contain a natural deep Cavern and lake. Although the D'ni clearly enhanced their new home over the millennia of their occupation, I suspect that the Cavern and lake were there from the beginning.

It's easier to theorize how the known aquifer data might fit in with the known conditions at the Cleft itself. We know there is a seep there which feeds the small pond at the Cleft bottom; there also is a small pond inside the caldera as well as some flowstone and a small underground river inside the natural cave just beneath the caldera floor. It's quite likely that this small river is the water source for the two surface ponds at that location. The images we have of Tomahna (the home where Atrus and Katran raised Yeesha) show an active river enclosed within steep canyon walls. Since The Stranger's records indicate that Tomahna and the Cleft were within a reasonable distance from each other, we have some helpful clues about surface water that we can relate directly to the currently known aquifer data. But considering the apparent limits for our current aquifer data, I fear that if and how this relates to the Cavern lake water remains a mystery.

So I must ponder upon how to combine these newest maps with the existing overlaid one showing elevation/volcanic formations. Another little project to work on "in all my spare time"!! :D

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Last edited by Ainia on Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:35 pm 
Actually, Ainia, regarding the seconds aquifer map, the Cavern must lie in one of the dark blue areas, because 3 miles is deeper than 500 feet.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:40 pm 
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Since 3 miles is 15,000 feet, I think the water will have travelled sideways a bit in the intervening 14,500. I don't think the aquifer maps are much help for the Cavern location.

But as we've discussed before, the combination of vulcanism and a near-surface water course must narrow down the locations for the Cleft somewhat.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:54 pm 
And where the Cleft is, the Cavern will be close.


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 Post subject: Re: Cleft and aquifers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Ainia wrote:
It's easier to theorize how the known aquifer data might fit in with the known conditions at the Cleft itself. We know there is a seep there which feeds the small pond at the Cleft bottom; there also is a small pond inside the caldera as well as some flowstone and a small underground river inside the natural cave just beneath the caldera floor. It's quite likely that this small river is the water source for the two surface ponds at that location.


Well this is a puzzle.

I had never noticed the flowstone inside the cave beneath the crater. I thought it might be volcanic formations that look similar to flowstone so I had to go back to the tunnel and check for myself.

[Reveal] Spoiler: A photo taken just below the entrance, next to the ladder
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I agree that this is certainly flowstone, not volcanic. Trouble is, all the rock above is volcanic and flowstone is CaC03, which is sedimentary. Flowstone usually forms when water seeps through limestone and dissolves it, then redeposits it in the cave. So where did all this CaC03 come from???

Granted, there are volcanic rocks that are made up of carbonate material (do a Wiki search for 'carbonatite') but they are VERY rare and weather to white within a few hours after they are deposited on the surface. I don't think that's the case here.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Stalctites, Stalagmites and Pillars farther into the cave
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The tunnel leading from the crater is (at first) a lava tube. My opinion is that these larger pillars and stalactites were formed from still-hot lava dripping off the ceiling of the cave. They don't have the same flowstone-look as the wall textures (or if they do it's a thin veneer on a completely different rock type).

Ok, here's a wild theory. The Cleft volcano is near some limestone beds and sediment from the limestone blows into the crater and collects on the floor, providing a source for the flowstone beneath. :shock: So maybe you should look for volcanoes near limestone layers.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:55 pm 
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DLordofTime wrote:
Actually, Ainia, regarding the seconds aquifer map, the Cavern must lie in one of the dark blue areas, because 3 miles is deeper than 500 feet.


Three miles is a long way down. The light blue aquifers could be perched. There could be secondary aquifers even deeper than these shallow ones.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:53 pm 
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While looking into deep aquifers the problem is they're not much mapped as they're not much drilled into. The oil industry is going deeper and deeper though.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Ainia, if you're looking into the aquifers to pin point the location of the Cleft, here's a few things that may help.

1. Along with the ponds in the Cleft and Caldera and Tiana's cave, there is a strong river that flows underground not far from the bottom of the Great Shaft. When you reach the bottom of the shaft there is a node that can only be accessed when the fans are running. Beyond this node is a long tunnel leading to a hollowed out canyon with a river at the bottom of the canyon. There's a bridge there that has long since collapsed. However the river is more than likely fed by one of the aquifers and may indeed be both the river that supplies the water for the ponds near and on the surface and the Cavern lake itself. Though I imagine there's more than one river that supplies the Cavern's lake. However it's close proximity to the surface (3 miles below) and relative short distance from the cleft (If one were to walk on the surface from the caldera to where the bridge would be underneath it's about 0.168 miles. However taking the tunnels to get there it's obviously a bit longer as they don't run in a straight line.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:10 pm 
Where did you learn about these tunnels? I have never seen beyond that node.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:18 pm 
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DLordofTime wrote:
Where did you learn about these tunnels? I have never seen beyond that node.


During the early days of the Restoration. I believe it was the 98-2002 era, several videos were taken depicting now closed off area's of the Shaft. Unfortunately the videos of this area have long since vanished. Perhaps someone will pop up eventually with a copy to share. However a snap shot of the river and bridge can be found here:

[Reveal] Spoiler: Descent Bridge/River
Image


[Reveal] Spoiler: More Information
Sorry to take this OOC but I'd suggest to anyone that wants more information on some of these areas to check out this thread from a few years ago. Cyan Unreleased Content. It's very informative. There's many threads like this one out there, you just need to be persistent when looking for information about the early Uru era.

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