New Mexico April 12, 2018
Few People Realize There’s A Major Volcano Field Here In New Mexico
Don’t expect any volcanic activity, but few people realize there’s a 8,000 square mile volcanic field located in New Mexico, that long ago transformed the New Mexico into its current day landscape. These fields stretch across the state and tap into a single magma source. While extremely unlikely, potential still exists for future eruptions from dormant volcanoes in the field today, according to National Park Service. Learn more about the Raton-Clayton volcanic field in the northeastern part of the state:
More than 118 volcanoes are in this area.
Mud Hill shown in the far upper area of the photo is considered a "grandma" of volcanoes, and may have been formed about 1.7 million years ago!
While most volcanoes here are considered monogenetic, meaning they erupt once only, there are others that are polygenetic, meaning they live longer and can erupt again.
The park service considers this an important distinction when considering the likelihood of future eruptions. Any future eruptions in this area will likely involve the eruption of a new monogenetic cone, rather than from an existing volcano.
Pressure ridges can be seen in the area.
They were created during an active lava flow. When the flowing lava began to harden, the still-liquid molten rock underneath pushed upward. What remained was raised mounds of lava rock.
Capulin Volcano erupted around 55,000 years ago.
It is larger and considered a perfectly formed cinder cone volcano.
It has been designated as a National Monument because of its shape and features.
Its unique shape is attributed to the eruption process and lava flowing from a vent located near the base of the volcano, called a boca.
Capulin's boca has multiple vents and a diversity of volcanic attributes.
Woodrow Wilson once proclaimed Capulin as "a perfect example of recent extinct volcanic activity."
Capulin Volcano area is known for its springtime beauty.
Hikers and adventurers enjoy the beautiful views, wildlife, bird watching, and wild flowers found here.
Birds like this Rock Wren like canyons and rocky terrain, making the landscape a preferred place for them to live.
This wren piles pebbles in front of its nest entrance.
Erosion has taken its toll on the size of the volcano. An estimated 100 feet of Capulin has eroded away over the years.
This photo was taken prior to 1936.
The first Capulin Volcano road was built in 1925, although it looks a lot different today.
This photo was taken in the 1960s.
Other volcano fields also exist in New Mexico.
The Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field is perhaps mentioned most often, but the state has numerous others as well. While scientists are not certain why there are volcanoes in the state, one theory is a continental rift, which is caused by the pulling apart of a single plate far below the earth's crust.
Have you visited the Capulin Volcano National Monument, or any of the other volcano fields across the state? If so, what were your impressions? Do you have any photos or experiences to share?
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