Special Publication - 14
The Geology of the Mount Taylor Area

Bonnie A Frey, Shari E. Kelley, Kate E. Zeigler, Virginia T. McLemore, Fraser Goff, and Dana S. Ulmer-Scholle, [editors]
2020, 191 pages.

book cover

The Mount Taylor area occupies a crossroad where geologic history, human history, and societal impacts intersect. Situated on the eastern edge of the Colorado Plateau and flanking the transition zone to the Rio Grande rift, Mount Taylor is a late Pliocene stratovolcano located on the Jemez Lineament, an enigmatic NE-trending alignment of late Cenozoic volcanic centers. Mount Taylor lies along the southeast margin of the San Juan Basin bounded by the Zuni (south) and Nacimiento (east) uplifts. Mount Taylor also has some of the richest uranium deposits in the United States.

The human history of the Mount Taylor region is no less compelling. Indigenous communities lived here for thousands of years despite Spanish conquest and the establishment of land grants. In the 1800s, settlement of this U.S. territory came, as did the railroad and timber industries, and later the uranium boom and its lasting legacy. Corridors of commerce opened with Route 66, succeeded by Interstate 40. The designation of Mount Taylor as a Traditional Cultural Property recognizes the mountain's importance to Native, Spanish and U.S. cultures.

The papers in this volume cover a spectrum of topics, ranging from geologic studies and mining history to the effects of mining on the population and the environment today.

The papers in this online volume, NMGS Special Publication 14, were written for the 2020 NMGS fall field conference guidebook. The Field Conference was repeatedly postponed to spring of 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This volume has been superseded by:

Guidebook 71

Geology of the Mount Taylor area, New Mexico Geological Society 72nd Annual Fall Field Conference Guidebook


Bonnie A. Frey, Shari A. Kelley, Fraser Goff, Kate E. Zeigler, Virginia T. McLemore, and Dana S. Ulmer-Scholle [editors], ISBN: 1-58546-112-1

ISBN: 1-58546-012-5
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CD or DVD-ROM format CD or DVD-ROM format
This book was superseded by the guidebook for the 2021* NMGS Fall Field Conference, held in spring of 2022.


This book is available as a free PDF file.



Facts and hypotheses regarding the Miocene–Holocene Jemez Lineament, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado
Fraser Goff and Shari A. Kelley

Volcanic evolution of Mount Taylor Stratovolcano, New Mexico: Facts and misconceptions
Fraser Goff, William McIntosh, Lisa Peters, John A. Wolff, Shari A. Kelley, Cathy J. Goff, and G. Robert Osburn

Episyenites in the Zuni Mountains, Cibola County, New Mexico — New interpretations
Virginia T. McLemore

Tall “hornito-style” lava stalagmites and lava column in lava column cave, El Malpais National Monument
Victor J. Polyak and Paula P. Provencio


Humate in the Upper Cretaceous Fruitland Formation in northwestern New Mexico
Robert W. Newcomer, John P. Nybo, and Jakob R. Newcomer

New Mexico uranium minerals
Virgil W. Lueth

Uranium deposits in the Poison Canyon Trend, Ambrosia Lake Subdistrict, Grants Uranium District, McKinley and Cibola counties, New Mexico
Virginia T. McLemore

Sandstone-hosted uranium deposits at the Cebolleta Land Grant, Cibola County, New Mexico
Ted Wilton, William X. Chávez, Jr., and Samantha Caldwell


The Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine, Grants Uranium District: Changes in perspectives from production to superfund site
Virginia McLemore, Bonnie A. Frey, Eliane El Hayek, Eshani Hettiarachchi, Reid Brown, Olivia Chavez, Shaylene Paul, and Milton Das

The environmental legacy of uranium mining and milling in New Mexico
Bruce Thomson

Vegetation density and vapor pressure deficit: Potential controls on dust flux at the Jackpile Uranium Mine, Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico
Reid Brown and Daniel Cadol

Environmental geochemistry of St. Anthony Mine uranium ores
Alexandra R. Pearce


A comparison of sandstone modal composition trends from Early Permian (Wolfcampian) strata of the Abo Formation in the Zuni and Manzano mountains with age-equivalent strata throughout New Mexico
Alicia L. Bonar, Brian A. Hampton, and Greg H. Mack

Triassic stratigraphy of the southeastern Colorado Plateau, west-central New Mexico
Spencer G. Lucas

Jurassic stratigraphy of the southeastern Colorado Plateau, west-central New Mexico: 2020 synthesis
Spencer G. Lucas

Jurassic stratigraphic nomenclature for northwestern New Mexico
Steven M. Cather

Clues from the Santa Fe Group for Oligocene-Miocene paleogeography of the southeastern Colorado Plateau near
Grants, NM
Daniel J. Koning, Matthew Heizler, and Andrew Jochems


Horizontal shortening of the Laramide Zuni Arch, west-central New Mexico: A preliminary study
Jacob O. Thacker


Continuous soil-moisture measurements to assess fracture flow in Inscription Rock at El Morro National Monument,
New Mexico: Implications for the deterioration of inscriptions
B. Talon Newton and Shari A. Kelley