Annual Fall Field Conferences

The NMGS Executive Committee has approved our plans to move forward with an in-person Fall Field Conference (see details below).


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.

2021: Geology of the Mt. Taylor Area — September 15-18

Capulin Volcano
View of Mt. Taylor and La Jara Mesa from Day 1, Stop 2. Slopes in the foreground, Morrison Formation.

The 2021 NMGS Fall Field Conference will visit the area around Mt. Taylor, a stratovolcano near Grants, New Mexico. The motivations for hosting a conference at Mt. Taylor are two-fold: 1) the completion of the Mt. Taylor geologic map and 2) the conclusion of “Energize New Mexico,” a five-year, NSF-funded program to support research in non-carbon emitting energy resources, including uranium resources. Researchers from the projects will lead or present during the conference. The Mt. Taylor area is rich in geologic history, including the relatively rapid creation of a complex volcanic mountain, the important uranium and coal deposits preserved in the shadows of Mt. Taylor and the resulting mining legacy, and the Jurassic and Cretaceous stratigraphy within and surrounding Mt. Taylor.

Because this conference was postponed in 2020 due to the global pandemic, papers prepared for publication in the 2020 guidebook were released as Special Publication 14: The Geology of the Mount Taylor Area. These papers, with some revisions, will be published in the guidebook for this conference, along with roadlogs and mini-papers.

Conference Details

Below are further details of what to expect:


  • Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Aug. 2. Registration will close at noon on Sept. 10. Full refunds for registration cancellations will be through Sept. 1.


  • We will follow CDC and New Mexico guidelines, requiring that unvaccinated individuals wear masks during the field conference and practice social distancing.
  • To facilitate social distancing and to limit the number of vehicles in sensitive areas, attendance will be capped at 100 attendees, and student scholarships will be limited to 20 students.
  • All attendees are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated before the trip for the safety of friends and colleagues.
  • Although masks are not currently required for vaccinated individuals, some property owners are strongly recommending masks for everyone, and that may change to a mandate by the time the conference happens. Please plan accordingly.
  • Please be aware that we may need to alter our plans should there be COVID spikes and if the CDC, New Mexico governor, or local communities reinstate closure plans, group limits, or any other response to new outbreaks. The health of our attendees, conveners and hosting communities is our first priority. Registration charges will be refunded in the case of a late cancellation of the conference.


  • For all three days, the conference will be traveling in high-clearance car caravans. The trip will start and end every day from a staging area in the parking lot at between Quality Inn and Days Inn.
  • The caravan of personal vehicles will have groups of up to five individuals or fewer who agree to travel together, which will be referred to as a “pod” or “travel pod” during the conference.

Food and Drinks

  • The registration fee includes the Ice Breaker, BBQ dinner, and banquet dinner, as well as daily lunches, snacks, and beverages. Because hotels are limiting their breakfast options, we will also provide breakfast burritos each morning from Gabby's Cafe. Attendees should also plan to carry their own water supply in their personal vehicles. The NMGS drink truck will have only an emergency supply of water.
  • Snacks will only be available at the beginning of each day and at lunch. Attendees will be responsible for collecting snacks at that time to get them through each half day. Only individually packaged snacks will be provided. Cold sports drinks will be available at each stop, especially the hot ones.


  • All three nights are based out of Grants, where several hotels near our staging area between Quality Inn and Days Innoffer plenty of lodging options. We have reserved blocks of rooms at: Quality Inn, $69.00 plus tax, 505-240-6239; Days Inn, $67.45 plus tax, 505-240-6518. Holiday Inn is also offering a block of rooms $115 + tax for Wednesday, $105 + tax for Thursday / Friday; 505-287-9252. The Lavaland RV Park is across the interstate from "hotel row" and includes tent spots in addition to the RV parking. 505-287-8665.



Although we are planning for the following itinerary, this too may change, depending on the needs of the hosting communities:

Day One:  
View the stratigraphy west of Mt. Taylor, from the Jurassic Entrada Sandstone through the Cretaceous Point Lookout Sandstone.

Day Two:
Travel up Water Canyon to the Mt. Taylor Amphitheater, to view the tuffs and other volcanics of Mt. Taylor and their surrounding sediments. There will be several short hikes over rugged terrain, so wear suitable footwear.

Day Three:
Learn about the legacy of the Jackpile Member of the Morrison Formation, the setting of its deposition, implications for uranium mining and remediation resulting from its uranium mineralization, and a last look at volcanic features associated with Mt. Taylor.

Future Conferences:

2022: Socorro

2023: Southeast New Mexico

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.