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I am a volcanologist and planetary geologist. I do research on two distinct topical areas, volcanology and planetary geology. My volcanology research makes use of the diverse, abundant, and young volcanoes and volcanic landforms of New Mexico to understand how volcanoes work. My research in planetary geology focuses on solar system exploration using the field geologic methods we use here on Earth and geologic analogs here in New Mexico. I am an active member of the Mars Exploration Rover Science Team where I am pioneering the use of field geology on Mars. I have participated in other NASA planetary missions over the years, including Viking, Pathfinder, and Mars Exploration Rover missions and Magellan synthetic aperture radar mapping missions to Venus.

Jornada del Muerto Volcano

The Jornada del Muerto (the modern idiom for the Medieval Spanish would be “Dead Man‘s Route”) was not always unvisited. For two hundred years after the first permanent Spanish settlement in 1598, most of the movement along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro between Mexico City and the interior of Nuevo Mexico passed through the valley just to the west of this lava flow. Today it is about as remote as any place in New Mexico.  It lies on the western edge of the White Sands Missile Range and was illuminated in 1945 by the world’s first atomic explosion in the valley to the immediate east.

Volcanoes and volcanic landforms are abundant, well-exposed, and relatively uneroded in New Mexico, so there are many opportunities to use New Mexico examples for understanding processes of volcanism and physical volcanology. Click here for an interactive map of all the volcanoes and volcanic fields you can find in New Mexico.

Learn about the amazing array of volcanoes located in New Mexico

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