Surviving Droughts

Lava tubes like this one helped people survive droughts long ago.

About 2,000 years ago, people living in western New Mexico had a big problem. The problem was that there was not enough drinking water. This problem is known as a drought, or a period of dry weather. Water is a basic need of all living things. We need water to stay alive. Puebloans, Native Americans in the Southwestern United States, had to find water to survive. Puebloans needed to find a creative solution. They found the solution in lava tubes. 

Icy lava tubes are caves formed by flowing lava. The shape of these caves helps the air stay cool. Ice trapped inside the caves can last for hundreds of years.  

Scientists found evidence of burnt wood and pottery pieces inside the caves. This suggests that people melted ice as a source of water a long time ago. Recent data shows that Puebloans used the ice during five major droughts. Scientists were excited about the new findings. 

Long ago, Puebloans used land to solve drought problems. You can be creative just like them! 

What Do You Think? What are some other ways people use land to solve problems? 

Reading Response Click on this link to respond to your reading. Print out the response page or upload it to your classroom site.

What Do You Think? 

Photo Credit: Galyna Andrushko/Alamy Stock Photo