Annual Fall Field Conferences

Because of COVID-19 pandemic, the society missed a fall conference in 2020 for the first time in 70 years and postponed the Mt. Taylor Area fall field conference to 2021. We hope that we won't have to postpone it yet again. A decision will be made in June.


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 Mount Taylor Area — September 15-18 (see note above)

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.

Call For Papers

The majority of the 2021 guidebook will be committed to papers that were published in NMGS Special Publication 14, however, Guidebook 71 will also include road logs and a few new technical papers. If you would like to submit a paper or mini-paper, please contact Bonnie Frey or Shari Kelley as soon as possible (see below). Guidebook submissions are due by April 1, 2021. All papers must be reviewed by two colleagues before submission as described in the Instructions For Authors page.

Conference Details

Itinerary (now tentative)

Day One: The geology of the San Mateo Creek Basin
Stops will focus on the stratigraphy of the region, from the Entrada Sandstone of the Jurassic to the Point Lookout Sandstone of the Upper Cretaceous. An important producer of uranium ore, the area offers participants the opportunity to learn about uranium mines and the mill sites that processed the ore while climbing among well-preserved outcrops that span a nearly complete Jurassic section.

Day Two: The volcanics of Mt. Taylor
We will visit Water Canyon on the southeast slopes of Mt. Taylor where we will discuss Cretaceous sedimentary rocks and much younger mafic and felsic volcanic rocks and observe the resulting contact metamorphism in the middle of the Amphitheatre. This is a rare opportunity to visit an area that is under the jurisdiction of Laguna Pueblo.

Day Three: The mining legacy on the east side of Mt. Taylor
The day will focus on mines that produced from the Jackpile Member of the Morrison Formation, a member that is not found in the San Mateo Creek Basin. Mine remediation workers and uranium transport and mineralization researchers will be among the presenters.


Capulin Volcano
Gibson Coal Member of the Crevasse Canyon Formation (near water bottle) on San Mateo Mesa (Day 1, Stop 3) looking east toward 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.