New Mexico Nature January 21, 2018
One Of The Country’s Few Supervolcanoes Is Hiding Right Here In New Mexico
New Mexico isn’t just “The Land of Enchantment,” it’s also “The Land of Volcanoes!” While our volcanoes don’t quite look the way most people imagine when they think of volcanoes…
(Like this. Sorry, you won’t find spewing lava and magma in New Mexico!)
...the state is teeming with ancient and extinct volcanoes that have become recognizable mountains on the landscape.
One particularly interesting area is the Valles Caldera National Preserve, located just outside Los Alamos in the northern portion of the state. This preserve is home to one of the country’s only supervolcanoes!
Yes, you read that right: a supervolcano in New Mexico. Measuring 12 miles across, it isn’t quite as massive as the one at Yellowstone (which is 45 miles wide) but it’s still an impressive sight!
Valles Caldera is part of the Jemez Volcanic Field and is relatively young. The caldera’s formation began around 1.2 million years ago and it last erupted roughly 50,000 years ago.
As with most calderas, the one at this national preserve doesn’t have the iconic cone shape that most people associate with volcanoes. This is because calderas collapse over time as magma escapes and it takes on a valley shape.
This picturesque area has plenty of areas for hiking, wildlife watching, and even some interesting history. For example, a number of Western movies were filmed here and you’ll still find some of the old sets in the preserve.
Are you ready to explore this gorgeous place?
Valles Caldera National Preserve is located just outside Los Alamos via State Highway 4. You can find more details about visiting the preserve by checking out the
National Park Service website.
Want to check out another interesting volcano here in New Mexico? Read more in
New Mexico’s Land Of Fire And Ice Is A Marvel You Have To See To See To Believe. Address: Valles Caldera National Preserve, 39201 NM-4, Jemez Springs, NM 87025, USA