University of Arizona

Sense of Place

Geos. 195D

Tumamoc Hill

Tumamoc Hill map
Tumamoc Hill has been called the "Acropolis of Tucson." It is the prominent hill west of downtown Tucson, just beyond "A" Mt. (Sentinel Peak). It is home to the famous, long-standing Desert Laboratory as well as various remnants of much more ancient civilizations.

Desert Laboratory. Photo—Gaizka Urreiztieta, 2011.

Desert Lab Library. Photo—Gary Huckleberry, 2017.

Tumamoc saguaro.
Photo—Meghan Marriott, 2014.

Tumamoc rock art. Photo—Carly Stewart, 2014.


Lots of snow this year. Photo—Amanda Linville, 2019.

Tumamoc bedrock mortar.
Photo—Nina Kolodij, 2015.

Paul wins again, "biggest hat."
Photo—Carly Stewart, 2014.

Tumamoc and A Mt. from the air, landing into TUS.
Tumamoc Hill is also a cherished spot for hill walkers, people who like to hoof it up and down the whole way to get exercise, see the great views, and socialize. Click here for a webpage for and by Tumamoc Walkers, and click here for an account of walking Tumamoc plus basic stats of the Hill.

This walking activity has been somewhat controversial because of access and protection issues. See the following links to the local newspaper for entries to this debate:

Tucson's Bucket of Sediment

Visible from Tumamoc Hill:







At ~500 sq. mi. in area and several thousand feet thick, Tucson's bucket of sediment is enormous. How much groundwater might be down there? Still? Do the math:

Tucson's Next Big Earthquake?
In 1887, a strong earthquake occured in northern Sonora, part of Basin and Range seismicity. Known as the Sonoran, or Pitáycachi, quake, it caused serious damage to buildings in Tucson. This raises the question: when might the next big one hit? How often do quakes like the one at Pitáycachi happen?
This back-of-the-envelope calculation provides an idea of how often a quake of that magnitude might occur on a range-bounding fault in this region. However, it is important to remember that there are multiple range-bounding faults in southern Arizona, and thus the actual frequency of strong quakes felt in Tucson will be higher.

Friends of Tumamoc



There's an App for That Now

Click here to get the new app for enjoying Tumamoc Hill on your own.



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Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA
Comments to Paul Sheppard: sheppard @ ltrr.arizona.edu