Mount Taylor, New Mexico

Mount Taylor, New Mexico

Location: 35.4N, 108.0W
Elevation: 11,300 feet (3,445 m)

Mount Taylor is a stratovolcano setting in a larger volcanic field made of basaltic vents and trachytic domes. The volcanoes are in the transition zone between the stable Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range Province, which is undergoing extension. Mount Taylor was active from 3.3 to 1.5 million years ago. The other volcanoes were active from 3.5 to 1.5 million years.

Mount Taylor (center of photo) is made of extrusive domes, thick lava flows, pyroclastic material and mud flows. There are a few cinder cones and basaltic lava flows on the flank of the volcano. Some of the lava flows contain xenoliths. An erosional amphitheater exposes the center of the Mount Taylor. The amphitheater may be the result of erosion of softer material or an explosive eruption similar to the one at Mount St. Helens. The other volcanoes cap Mesa Chivato (mesa extending north from Mount Taylor). In an area of about 1800 square km (including Mount Taylor) there are at least 250 vents. Total volume (including Mount Taylor) was originally about 300 cubic km. The field is made of several types of volcanoes including maars, fissures, domes, volcanic necks, and cinder cones.

Sources of Information:

Crumpler, L.S., 1982, Volcanism in the Mount Taylor region: New Mexico Geol. Soc. Guidebook 33rd Field Conf. Albuquerque County II, p. 291-298.

Lipman, P.W., Pallister, J.S., and Sargent, K.A., 1978, Geologic map of Mount Taylor quadrangle, Valencia County, New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey Map GQ-1523.

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

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