Day 2 Grants to Cubero to Mt. Taylor Ranch
— Bonnie Frey, Shari Kelley, Fraser Goff, Cathy Goff, Larry Crumpler, and Jayne Aubelle


Today, we have the unique opportunity to explore the eastern Amphitheater in the center of the Mt. Taylor volcano. All of the stops are within Laguna Pueblo property, and we are grateful for their permission to visit. Throughout the day, we will examine Cretaceous rocks that underlie the volcano and some of the oldest lavas and tuffs that form the foundation of the edifice. We will also view the youngest intrusion in the Amphitheater. Discussions will focus on the story of the gradual building of this volcano between 3.7 and 1.3 Ma and the relationship of Mt. Taylor volcanism to nearby youthful volcanic fields.

The first part of our route follows the lava flows of El Malpais along US Historic Route 66 and skirts the southern edge of Mt. Taylor (Fig. 2.1). We will view the mesas that extend from Mt. Taylor, which are capped by volcanic rocks that have helped preserve the underlying stratigraphy and which we will enjoy along our route. For most of our route, we will travel through two of the many lava flows that erupted from the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field. The oldest flow, that we will encounter today, is the El Calderon flow. It is overlain by the youngest, the McCartys flow, with a brief sighting of the Hoya de Cibola flow.

At Villa de Cubero, we turn north and begin a subtle climb along Water Canyon Road for several miles toward the entrance of the canyon. This route will bring us into the Mt. Taylor Amphitheater, an erosional feature (Goff et al., 2019) that offers us stellar views of the volcano’s stratigraphy.

We will make our first stop soon after passing into the Pueblo’s Mt. Taylor Ranch, where we will visit one of the best exposures of Cretaceous rocks within the canyon and will view some of the early volcanic deposits. From there, we proceed to the east Amphitheater for Stop 2 to investigate the relationship of altered Cretaceous rocks with Cretaceous rocks at Stop 1. We will enjoy lunch among the lovely lakes and Ponderosa pines of this location before backtracking a short way to Stop 3, where we will see impressive exposures of ignimbrite and tephra and consider the evolution of the stratovolcano.

Note: Full-text Fall Field Conference road logs for recent guidebooks are only available in print.

Recommended Citation:

  1. Frey, Bonnie; Kelley, Shari; Goff, Fraser; Goff, Cathy; Crumpler, Larry; Aubelle, Jayne, 2021, Day 2 Grants to Cubero to Mt. Taylor Ranch, in: New Mexico Geological Society, 71st Annual Fall Field Conference, September 2021, Geology of Mount Taylor, Frey, Bonnie A.; Kelley, Shari A.; Zeigler, Kate E.; McLemore, Virginia T.; Goff, Fraser; Ulmer-Scholle, Dana S., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, pp. 49-68.

[see guidebook]