Annual Fall Field Conferences


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.

2019: Geology of the Raton-Clayton Area — October 3-5, 2019

Capulin Volcano
Aerial view of Capulin Volcano. Stop 1 of Day 1.

The Raton-Clayton area is known for its intertwined geologic, biologic, and human histories. Over thirty years have passed since the NMGS Fall Field Conference was last held in northeastern NM. Recently, numerous workers have focused on Mesozoic stratigraphy, Laramide tectonics, late Quaternary volcanism, landscape evolution, groundwater characterization, and induced seismicity. The field conference will highlight aspects of the current and ongoing research. The area hosts spectacular and diverse geology, often overlooked by travellers to this part of the state. We will examine the geologic, biological, and human histories of the mesas, volcanic peaks, and numerous valleys that riddle the landscape of the hi-lo country.

Conference Organizers:

Call for Papers

The deadline has past.

Conference Details


All three nights are based out of Clayton, NM where numerous hotels offer plenty of lodging options. The conference headquarters, ice breaker, and banquet will be at the Herzstein Memorial Museum, so you may wish to consider proximity to the museum when you make lodging reservations.


For all three days, the conference will be traveling in passenger van caravans. The trip will start and end every day from the parking lot near the Clayton police station.

Ice Breaker

  • Wednesday evening, October 2, from 6pm to 9pm, at the Herzstein Memorial Museum.

Schedule of Stops

Day One: Geology of the Raton-Clayton volcanic field with emphasis on the most recent eruptions

  • Stop 1. Capulin Volcano National Monument:
    After a brief introduction to the Raton- Clayton volcanic field from the top of the 55 ka Capulin Volcano, we will circumnavigate the crater rim along a paved trail, taking in views of the surrounding landscape. Lunch will be provided at the base of the volcano. Participants can enjoy the visitor center or opt for short hikes.
  • Stop 2. Mud Hill tuff cone:
    We will investigate the phreatomagmatic deposits of this small volcano, comparing and contrasting the deposits to those of Capulin.
  • Stop 3. Baby Capulin:
    We will examine the deposits and geochemistry of yet another young cinder cone, where participants can collect bombs and cinders during their second crater rim circumnavigation.
  • Stop 4. Johnson Mesa:
    A short drive from Folsom will take us to the top of Johnson Mesa where we will discuss the early volcanism in the field, landscape evolution, and groundwater geochemistry.
  • Evening barbeque at the legendary Folsom Museum where field trippers can enjoy relicts of the early human history of the area.

Day Two: Geology of the Dry Cimarron Valley

  • Stop 1. Folsom Falls:
    We will begin the day with a classic example of inverted topography and discuss different techniques for correlating distal flows to source vents.
  • Stop 2. Landslides of Dry Cimarron Valley:
    At this stop we will introduce the Mesozoic stratigraphy and discuss lithologic controls on mass wasting in the valley.
  • Stop 3. Battleship Mountain and Wedding Cake Butte:
    We will continue our discussion of the local stratigraphy and discuss the significance of a well-exposed angular unconformity as it relates to tectonics of the area.
  • Stop 4. Clastic injectites:
    The focus of this stop is to examine the origin of a wellexposed clastic injectite, one of dozens found throughout the valley.
  • Banquet dinner at the Herzstein Memorial Museum in Clayton.

Day Three: Geology of the Raton area

  • Mid-Tertiary magmatism of the high plains as recorded by the Tinaja dike swarm


NMGS FFC Guidebooks
2019 Fall Field Conference Guidebook

The guidebook for the conference covers many aspects of the Raton-Clayton region and includes 3 road logs and 13 research papers. NMGS members can login to read guidebook papers prior to the conference.

A full version of the 2019 Guidebook is included with registration. A spiral bound guidebook containing only the roadlogs will be available for separate purchase.

Future Conferences:

2019: Raton — October 3-5 (see above)

2020: Mt. Taylor — Sept. 23-26 (Call For Papers- deadline: 3/1/2020)

2021: Socorro

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.