Zuni-Bandera Field and McCarty's Lava Flow

Location: 35° N, 108° W, Cibola County
Type: Holocene scoria cones, shield volcanoes, spatter cones and lava flows
Age: ~0.8 Ma to 3 ka

Youthful volcanic field; the McCartys lava flow is one of the youngest and longest lava flows on the continent.


Alkali basalt, hawaiite, tholeiite cones, craters, and fissures.




Aerial view of Bandera crater, a young scoria cone (~ 10-20 Ka) on the western edge of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field. Photo L. Crumpler

Lava channel in aa lava flows from Bandera crater (in the distance). Photo L. Crumpler

Geological Overview

Several basaltic centers erupted relatively long lava flows within a broad valley between the east end of the Zuni Mountains and Cebolleta Mesa.

The youngest flow, the McCartys lava flow, is the youngest eruption in New Mexico. This lava is a classic pahoehoe lava flow and is about 40 km long. The extreme northern distal end of the lava flow lies within the Rio San Jose Valley at modern day I-40. Another young lava flow of aa type lava characteristics, erupted from a small basaltic cone within the Zuni Mountains flowed north through a canyon and out onto the valley of the Rio San Jose near modern day Grants and I-40. 

General geologic map of the Zuni Bandera Field.


Aerial, low altitude view of the inflation pits near the south end of the McCartys lava flow. The view is directed northward. Photo L.Crumpler

McCarty lava flow southern edge, NM 117 (from 20,000'). Photo L. Crumpler

Cleft in McCartys lava flow. Photo L. Crumpler 

McCartys vent (aerial). Photo L. Crumpler 

McCartys vent. Photo L. Crumpler

Margin of Inflation Plateau. Photo L. Crumpler


Ropy Lava. Photo L. Crumpler

Lava Tube near McCartys vent. Photo L. Crumpler

Tree cast, Zuni Acoma Trail. Photo L. Crumpler

Lava tree cast. Bandera Crater, NM. Photo L. Crumpler


View McCartys Lava Flow in a larger map



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

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