Lucero Volcanic Field

Location: 34°42' N, 107° 20' W, Valencia County
Type: Basaltic shield volcano, scoria cones, associated lava flows; older basaltic mesas
Age: ~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 east of the Lucero Mesa monocline (above) just beyond the lava flows of the Lucero field at the western margin of the Rio Grande rift. 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



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.




All text and photo credit due to Dr. Larry Crumpler, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

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