The New Mexico Geological Society
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Annual Fall Field Conference
2015: Geology of the Meadowlands,
Las Vegas Area — September 30th - October 3rd

Every fall since 1950, the Society has held a field conference to some part of New Mexico and, in some cases, to border states. From the beginning, the conference has been accompanied by a guidebook with detailed road logs as well as peer-reviewed papers relevant to the region. These guidebooks remain as invaluable references to the geology of the conference study area and most are available for purchase.

Widespread enthusiasm for the Fall Field Conferences has led to receipt of many proposals for future conferences. Therefore, the schedule of upcoming field conferences is now outlined for the next several years. The field conference venues and names of organizers are listed below. All members are encouraged to volunteer assistance to the organizers or to contribute to the guidebooks. If you live near or are involved with the geology in the vicinity of the future conference sites, please consider contacting one of the organizers.

2015 Conference: Las Vegas Area

Call For Papers (PDF version)

2015 route
2015 Field Conference Route

After a nearly 30 year hiatus, the 2015 NMGS Fall Field Conference will visit the geology of the Las Vegas area including the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the eastern High Plains. The conference will present diverse geology, from the Proterozoic crystalline basement through Phanerozoic stratigraphy to younger igneous intrusive and extrusive rocks and showcase spectacular views of Hermit’s Peak, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Mora River Valley, and the High Plains grasslands.  We encourage the submission of papers pertaining to all aspects of the mountains and basins of the Meadowlands region.  Draft titles for minpapers and technical papers for the 2015 guidebook are due to co-editors Jennifer Lindline and Mike Petronis (both at New Mexico Highlands University) by December 15th, 2014.  Peer-reviewed technical papers are due March 1st, 2015.  Please view our Author Instructions & Reviewer Forms.

Sangre de Cristos

Day 1 presents various Paleoproterozoic rock types and structural relationships within the Las Vegas Range.  The route includes a drive to the mountains to investigate Paleo- and Mesoproterozoic igneous and metamorphic rocks, examine a variety of igneous intrusive relationships, discuss the timing of plutonism relative to deformation, and consider the tectonomagmatic history of the region.  The day also includes fossil-hunting stops within Pennsylvanian-Permian stratigraphic sections, laying hands on the 1.4 billion year time gap represented by the Great Unconformity, and enjoying a barbeque on the grounds of the Armand Hammer United World College with an optional soak in the Montezuma hot springs.

Day 2 investigates the Paleozoic-Mesozoic stratigraphy and structural development of the Las Vegas basin.  The route traverses the transition zone between the Southern Rocky Mountains and High Plains physiographic provinces.  Stops include the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge to discuss the geology of the Wind River Ranch, Turkey Mountains, and Fort Union areas as well as select volcanic features of the Mora-Ocate volcanic field. The route ends with a visit to Fort Union National Monument to view remnants of the Southwest’s largest frontier fort and ruts of the Santa Fe Trail.  The conference regroups at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas for the annual banquet.

Day 3 switches gears and investigates the hydrostratigraphy and water budget of the Las Vegas region.  The schedule includes an introduction to the Storrie Project and surface water-ground water management issues for the high desert town of Las Vegas.  The route traverses the Storrie Project conveyance system ending at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge for additional discussions of water management problems and proposed solutions.


Future Conferences:

2016: Geology of the Belen Area, September 14-17, 2016

Call For Papers (PDF version)


The 2016 NMGS Fall Field Conference will travel around the Belen area in central New Mexico. The pre-conference field trip will visit the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Day 1 will focus on the east side of the Rio Grande with stops at Black Butte, Sais Quarry, and Estadio Canyon. Day 2 will be spent on the west side investigating the geology of Carrizo Arroyo and hydrology of Rios Puerco and San Jose. Day 3 will conclude the conference in the travertine quarry west of Belen. Highlights of this conference will include discussions of Precambrian tectonism, Laramide orogeny, Cenozoic stratigraphy and volcanics, industrial minerals, and paleo and modern hydrology.

Draft titles for minipapers and technical papers for the 2016 guidebook are due December 1, 2015, to co-organizers Shannon Williams (Amec Foster Wheeler), Bonnie Frey (NM Bureau of Geology), or Phil Miller (NM Bureau of Geology). Peer-reviewed technical papers are due February 15, 2016. Author instructions and reviewer forms are available at: We hope to include manuscripts covering all aspects of geology in and around the Belen area.


Shannon Williams,, 505-440-5306
Bonnie Frey,, 575-835-5420
Phil Miller,, 575-835-5420

If you have an idea for a future field conference, please contact the President of the NMGS.

Photos From Past Fall Field Conferences

Everyone is invited to share their best digital photos of past conferences with the rest of the Society membership. Please contact the society webmaster via the 'comments' link below.


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