Expand this Topic clickable element to expand a topic
Skip to content
Optica Publishing Group

Possible halo depictions in the prehistoric rock art of Utah

Not Accessible

Your library or personal account may give you access

Abstract

In western American rock art the concentric circle symbol, which is widely regarded as a sun symbol, is ubiquitous. We provide evidence from Archaic and Fremont Indian rock art sites in northwestern Utah that at least one depiction was motivated by an observation of a complex halo display. Cirrus cloud optical displays are linked in both folklore and meteorology to precipitation-producing weather situations, which, in combination with an abundance of weather-related rock art symbolism, indicate that such images reflected the ceremonial concerns of the indigenous cultures for ensuring adequate precipitation. As has been shown to be the case with rock art rainbows, conventionalization of the halo image may have resulted in simple patterns that lacked recognizable details of atmospheric optical phenomena. However, in one case in which an Archaic-style petroglyph (probably 1500 yr or more old) satisfactorily reproduced a complicated halo display that contained parhelia and tangent arcs, sufficient geometric information is rendered to indicate a solar elevation angle of ∼40° at the time of observation.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

Full Article  |  PDF Article
More Like This
Rainbows in the Indian rock art of desert western America

Kenneth Sassen
Appl. Opt. 30(24) 3523-3537 (1991)

Atmospheric optics in art

Stanley David Gedzelman
Appl. Opt. 30(24) 3514-3522 (1991)

Simulating rainbows and halos in color

Stanley David Gedzelman
Appl. Opt. 33(21) 4607-4613 (1994)

References

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Citation lists with outbound citation links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an Optica member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access Optica Member Subscription

Cited By

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Cited by links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an Optica member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access Optica Member Subscription

Figures (4)

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Figure files are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an Optica member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access Optica Member Subscription

Metrics

Select as filters


Select Topics Cancel
© Copyright 2022 | Optica Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved