Course OverviewThe Jemez Mountains are only one of a number of volcanic features located along the Rio Grande Rift zone – a north-south corridor throughout central New Mexico and part of the Basin and Range Province of the southwestern United States. The Jemez Mountains are what is known as a caldera or a collapsed volcano. It is one of three “super volcanoes” in North America, including the Long Valley caldera in California and Yellowstone caldera in Wyoming. The Jemez volcanic field has been active for the past 15 million years, and the rhyolite flow that makes up Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument formed about 6.7 million years ago. The Jemez caldera exploded two times: once at 1.62 million years and then again 1.25 million years – that last and greatest explosion creating the Bandelier Tuff. In this class we will learn about the geology of the Valles Caldera, Bandelier National Monument and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. We will also discover a “little Yellowstone” right in our own Jemez Mountains.
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