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Lucero Volcanic Field

34°42' N, 107° 20' W, Valencia County
Basaltic shield volcano, scoria cones, associated lava flows; older basaltic mesas
~8.3 Ma to ~1.1 Ma
Basanite, alkali basalt, theoleiitic basalt.


Geological Overview

Older lava flows cap mesas on the eastern edge of the field and overlying the monoclinal eastward-dipping western margin of the Rio Grande rift. Cerro Verde, one of the younger centers of volcanism, is a classic basaltic shield volcano that fed lava flows 42 km long. The lava flows are preserved along the margins of the modern Rio San Jose, an eastward draining tributary of the Rio Puerco and Rio Grande. 



Cerro Colorado ("Volcano Hill"), a scoria cone with well-developed and exposed internal layering. Photo L.Crumpler

View of Cerro Colorado ("Volcano Hill") from the eastern trail approach. Photo L.Crumpler

View northwest across north, outward-dipping  agglomerate rim of Cerro Colorado ("Volcano Hill") towards Mount Taylor volcano in the distance. Photo L.Crumpler

View east of the Lucero Mesa monocline marking the western margin of the Rio Grande rift. The lava flows of Lucero Mesa were emplaced on an unconformity crossing the tilted layers of the western rift margin. Subsequent landscape erosion has left the lava flow perched or capping  elevated mesas where there was once a valley throuygh which the lava flows moved. Photo L. Crumpler.

Geologic map of the Lucero region from the State Geologic Map, New Mexico Bureau of Geology.

Cerro Verde, a classic small shield volcano. Lava flows from this volcanic center moved down the valley of the Rio San Jose several kilometers to the east. Photo L. Crumpler

Cerro Verde shield volcano viewed from the north. Photo L. Crumpler


Cerro Verde shield volcano as viewed from the west near the base of Cerro Colorado ("Volcano Hill"). Photo L. Crumpler

Summit crater of Cerro Verde shield volcano. Photo L. Crumpler

Black Mesa slumps (Lucero Field). The underlying Triassic Chinle Formation is easily eroded causing the hard cap rock of basaltic lavas to slump in well-organized blocks over a geologic time scale. Photo L.Crumpler


View Lucero Volcanic Field in a larger map


Baldridge, W. S. Perry, F. V., and Shafiqullah, M., 1987, Late Cenozoic volcanism of the southeastern Colorado Plateau: I. Volcanic geology of the Lucero area, New Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 99, p. 463-470.

Baldridge, W. S , 1990. Lucero, New Mexico; in Wood, C. A., and Kienle, J. (eds), Volcanoes of North America: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 305-306.

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