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

We are seeking guidebook manuscripts for mini-papers and technical papers covering all aspects of the geology for northeastern NM. Please read our Instruction for Authors and itinerary for the 2019 Fall Field Conference (below). Please contact one of the technical editors (above) as soon as possible if you wish to submit a manuscript.


  • January 1st – Notify technical editors of desire to publish with a draft title and a short synopsis of the proposed publication for editor approval for the 2019 NMGS Guidebook
  • March 15th –Final deadline for both peer-reviewed mini-papers and technical papers

Conference Details


All three nights are based out of Clayton, where numerous hotels offer plenty of lodging options.


For days one and two, we will provide rental vans and carpool in state university vehicles. Private vehicles will be used for day three.

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 (at the time of registration, participants will register for one of two trips)

  • Trip 1: Mid-Tertiary magmatism of the high plains as recorded by the Tinaja dike swarm
  • Trip 2: To be determined

Future Conferences:

2019: Raton

2020: Mt. Taylor

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.