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Potrillo Volcanic Field

31° 45' to 32° 15' N, 106° 47' to 107° 21' W, Doña Ana County
Scoria cones, shield volcanos, and maars
~900 ka to ~20 ka
Youthful volcanic field in Basin and Range setting; several youthful maars and cinder cones
Alkali basalt and basanite

Geological Overview

The Potrillo  Volcanic Field  is one of the youngest and mostly southerly fields in New Mexico. The young (~0-24 ka) eastern part of the field (Aden-Afton field ) (Hoffer et al, 1998) consists of several scoria cones, a shield volcano, and maars, as well as some much older basaltic masses such as Black Mountain.  Three well-known maars, Hunt's Hole and Kilbourne Hole, and Potrillo, and a tuff cone, Riley occur in the eastern half of this field. The age of Kilbourne Hole is estimated at 80 ka, or approximately similar to Zuni salt Lake, another maar in northern and western New Mexico. Kilbourne Hole is widely known for its abundant mantle-lower crustal  xenoliths (Padovani and Reid, 1989), but is better known in the volcanological community for its rim consisting of deposits emplaced through classic hydromagmatic base-surge eruptions, of which there are many excellent exposures.

The western part of the field consists of more than a hundred basaltic scoria cones and is slighly older (~260-900 ka) (Hoffer et al, 1998)


Aden Crater  and surrounding lava flow field. This is a relatively young eruption (~20-24 ka) (Hoffer,1998). The vent area (left or west) margin of dark flow field area) is a shield volcano with a central platform and an extensive field of surrounding la a flows. The size and shape is typical of several other oate Cenozoic shield volcaneos and large lava flow fields in New Mexico. (For example, see the decsription and images from the Jornada del Muerto field. Maxim Crater, El Tintero, Cerro Verde, or San Felipé).  High altitude photo by L. Crumpler.

Potrillo (Aden-Afton Basalt) Volcanic Field (western portion). High altitude photo by L. Crumpler.


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Hoffer, J. M., 1976, Geology of the Potrillo basalt field, south-central New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society Special Publication 5, p. 89-92.

Hoffer, J. M., 1976, Geology of the Potrillo basalt field, south-central New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources Circular 149, 30pp.

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Hoffer, J. M., B. S. Penn, O. A. Quezada,and M. Morales, 1998. Qualitative age relationships of late Cenozoic cinder cones, southern Rio Grande rift, utilizing cone morphology and Landsat thematic imagery:a preliminary assessment, New Mexico Geological Socir=ety Guidebook, 49th Field Conference, Las Cruces Country II, 123-128.

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Seagar, W. R.,  Shafiqullah, M., Hawley, J. W., and Marvin, R., 1984, New K-Ar dates for basalts and the evolution of the southern Rio Grande rift: Geological Society of America, Bulletin, v. 95, p. 87-99.

Simon, E. L., and Alexander, H. L., 1964, Age of the Shasta ground sloth from Aden Crater, New Mexico: American Antiquity, v. 29, p. 390-391.

Stuart, C. J., 1981, Hunt’s Hole Maar volcano, Doña Ana County, south-central New Mexico: El Paso Geological Society Guidebook, p. 64-72.



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