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A useful Disaster

An ingenuous civilization raised monuments to persistence on the ashes of a cataclysm at Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments

The Hopi believe their kachinas created the Sunset Crater eruption to punish the Sinagua Indians in retaliation for a prank played out of jealousy. In real life, the eruption ushered in an era of prosperity — demonstrating the complex relationship between climate, culture and geography. Both Sunset Crater and the Wupatki ruins rise out of the landscape around the area of the San Francisco Peaks, out of place but curiously perfect.

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