Capulin Volcano (Tim)

10/27/17 - Northeast New Mexico

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This is a cinder cone, which means it wasn't formed by lava oozing out the top. Rather it was caused by hot gasses below explosively blowing lava out the top. The small splatters of lava cool in the air and rain down as rocks, from nut-sized to baseball-sized. Because a cinder cone is just a jumble of rocks, it usually erodes faster than a cone formed by lava flows. This cone rises 1,300 feet above the plain to an altitude of 8,100 feet. The sloping line across the middle of the cone is the road that spirals up to the top.

This is the view from the top of the cone, looking down into the "Boca", Spanish for the mouth of the volcano.

Looking out in every direction from the top of the cone, you can see lots of other volcanos. These volcanos have been popping up for the last 9 million years in an 8,000 square mile region in northeast New Mexico. What makes the Capulin Volcano so special? It's relatively young (only 50K years) and it's a perfectly shaped example of a cinder cone.

There was a light dusting of snow overnight. By noon, only a little snow was left in shady areas. But at the top of the volcano, I did find one patch that was big enough to survive the sun, so I let the boys play some.

This is Sierra Grande, the biggest volcano in this region, rising 2,200 feet above the plain. I drove by it on my way from Amarillo to Capulin. Not too impressive from 10 miles away. If you look closely, you can see a few antennas on top.