New Mexico: The Volcano State

New Mexico has the most diverse and largest number of volcanoes in North America. From the crest of La Bajada Hill you can see the surrounding Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, and Ortiz mountains. The broad landscape evolved from widespread volcanic activity that occurred 70 million years ago. New Mexico is known as the Volcano State. it has the most diverse and largest number of volcanoes in North America. In addition, it contains one of the world’s five continental rifts.

Valles Caldera

The greatest concentration of craters created by volcanic stream explosions occurred in New Mexico. The Valles Caldera is located 58 miles from Santa Fe. The vast area comprises one of the largest super volcanoes in the world. The Valles Caldera is one of three major volcanos in the United States. The other two are Yellowstone in Wyoming and Long Valley in California. The Valles Caldera spans almost 14 miles. Formed from the collapse of molten rocks it created a magma chamber. Two of the largest basaltic lava flows in the world are located in Carrizozo and McCartys Village. It was in New Mexico, not Hawaii, that lava flows were first studied by geologists.

Blood of Christ

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, whose name, given by the early Spanish explorers, means “blood of Christ.” Volcanic acrtivity created the Rockies, one of the longest mountain chains on earth. Major fault lines run along both the east and west sides of the Sangres. The Rio Grande fault line overlooks the range of Santa Fe.

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