Building with stone in northern New Mexico
— George S. Austin, James M. Barker, and Edward W. Smith


The stone industry in New Mexico began in the distant past. The Anasazi and cliff-dweller cultures, both of whom used stone extensively, evolved into the present pueblo culture. Spanish, Mexican, Territorial and present-day cultures all have used local stone for various building purposes, including foundations, footings, walls, wall veneers, flagging, landscaping and decoration. The two main divisions of the stone industry are crushed stone and dimension stone. Rock units in the northern part of New Mexico contain quality stone for both. Stone resources are large and include many major and minor rock types. Active quarries were more numerous in the past, particularly in the latter part of the 19th century.

The New Mexico State Highway Department has hundreds of quarries in northern New Mexico, primarily for limestone. Small stone producers operate additional dimension-stone quarries, principally for sandstone. Major producing quarries are in the Ribera, San Miguel, Las Vegas, Anton Chico, Tecolote, Abiquiu, Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas. Many local people quarry stone or collect "moss rock" from the surface. Stone is sold most commonly from pickup or flatbed trucks in metropolitan centers. As the price of other building materials continues to increase, energy-efficient stone should become more popular and competitive as a building material.

Full-text (1.85 MB PDF)

Recommended Citation:

  1. Austin, George S.; Barker, James M.; Smith, Edward W., 1990, Building with stone in northern New Mexico, in: Tectonic development of the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico, Bauer, Paul W.; Lucas, Spencer G.; Mawer, Christopher K.; McIntosh, William C., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 41st Field Conference, pp. 405-415.

[see guidebook]