McCartys Flow, Zuni - Bandera Volcanic Field, New Mexico

Location: 35.0N, 107.8W
Elevation: 6,400-6,500 feet (1,950-1,980 m)


Miocene to Holocene volcanic fields and the Jemez lineament. From Ander and others (1981).
1. Springerville 4. Jemez Mountains 7. Raton-Clayton
2. Zuni-Bandera 5. Taos
3. Mount Taylor 6. Ocate

The Zuni - Bandera volcanic field is located in eastern New Mexico near the Jemez lineament. The Jemez lineament is the surface expression of a weakness in the crust. The Zuni - Bandera volcanic field trends obliquely to the lineament and consists of 74 basaltic vents and associated lava flows. The volcanic field is about 55 miles (90 km) long and 0.6 to 9 miles (1 to 15 km) wide. The volcanoes erupted during two periods: 3.8-3.7 million years ago and 1.7 million to about 1,000 years ago. The older volcanoes are exposed on the west and south sides of the field. The younger flows are in the northeastern part of the field.

Perhaps the best known feature of the Zuni - Bandera volcanic field is McCartys flow. The flow originated from a 25 foot (8 m) tall cinder cone that developed on a broad lava shield. Some of the flow moved to the southwest but most of it went north, traveling 38 miles (60 km) from the vent. U.S. Interstate 40 bisects the north end of the lava flow.
McCartys flow. Photo by Steve Mattox, 1989.

The surface of McCartys flow is unweathered and glassy. Medial cracks and ropy pahoehoe can be seen in this photo. The flow is younger than 700-900 A.D. Photo by Steve Mattox, 1989.

El Malpais National Monument highlights the rugged beauty of this volcanic field.


Space Shuttle photo STS074-0729-0011 looking south across the south half of the Carrizozo volcanic field, November 11, 1995.


Sources of Information:

Ander, M.E., Heiken, G., Eichelberger, J. Laughlin, A.W., and Husetis, S., 1981, Geological and geophysical investigations of the Zuni volcanic field, New Mexico: Los Alamos National Lab. Report LA-8827-MS, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 39 p.

Baldridge, W.S., Perry, F.V., Nealey, L.D., Laughlin, A.W., and Wohletz, K.H., 1989, Excursion 8A: Oligocene to Holocene magmatism and extensional tectonics, central Rio Grande Rift and southern Colorado Plateau, New Mexico and Arizona, in Chapin, C.E., and Zidek, J., eds., Field excursions to volcanic terranes in the western United States, Volume 1: Southern Rocky Mountain region: New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources, p. 202-230.

Elston, W.E., and Wohletz, K.H., 1987, Quaternary basalt fields of west-central New Mexico: McCartys pahoehoe flow, Zuni Canyon aa flow, Zuni Ice Cave, Bandera Crater, and Zuni Salt Lake maar, in Beus, S.S., ed., Centennial Field Guide Volume 2 Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America, p. 431-436.

Laughlin, A.W., Brookins, D.G., and Causey, J.D., 1972, Late Cenozoic basalts from the Bandera lava field, Valencia County, New Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 83, p. 1,543-1,552.

Nichols, R.L., 1956, McCartys basalt flow, Valencia County, New Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 57, p. 1,049-1,086.

Wood, C.A., and Kienle, J., 1993, Volcanoes of North America: Cambridge University Press, New York, 354 p.



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