We had spent two days around the rig, so it was time to take a drive. We headed up to Raton and then east to Capulin Volcano National Monument.
The views here are awesome! It is worth the drive just for the views. This is looking northwest from an elevation of about 7800 feet.
There is a road that spirals around the volcano to this parking lot on the west side. This is the lower side of the cone. From the lot, you can hike around the rim, and down into the center. This view is looking north.
A shot of the interior core. Its about 150 feet below the lower rim. This is a cinder cone volcano, exactly like those in Mojave National Preserve, except with vegetation and being older. Cinder cone volcanoes are active for only a short period of time.
This view is to the west southwest. You can see another cinder cone is left of center. Those distant mountains maybe old volcanoes, but I really do not know. We are close to 8000 feet now. The rock outcropping in the lower right is the rim edge. It is a dang steep slide down.
Looking to the south is Sierra Grande, the largest shield volcano in the region. Shield volcanoes can be very large. Examples are Mt Kilauea, Stromboli and Etna. Yes, I enjoy volcanoes. Volcanology was a very close second to Meteorology for me.
On the east rim looking west.
You get an idea of the terrain curvature here, besides the pretty flowers.
This view is looking northeast towards the small town of Folsom, which is near center in the picture. Think hard now. Where have you heard about Folsom?
Another view of Sierra Grande, but with added features. See the dark raised relief or edging near picture center that trails off the left and right? Those are pressure ridges caused by cooling lava flows that have been lifted by hot lava from beneath.
Jumbled igneous rock as you lower into the core.
A view of the circular rim from the core, looking up.
Another shot of the rim. This is déjà vu. This is similar to the inside of a large eyewall inside a hurricane. Except the aircraft is in a 30-40 degree bank and the eye is 8-20 miles across. If most pronounced, it is called stadium effect.
This is a shot to the north again, mainly to document the nearly stationary cloud structure in the center and upper portions of the image.
Ok, have you figured out the Folsom reference? Folsom Points were discovered here at the Folsom Site by George McJunkin, an ex-slave after a flash flood that nearly wiped out the town in 1908. He was riding to check damage after the flood and discovered the bones, embedded with points. He was a self-taught naturalist who shocked the archeology world with the discovery. An interesting side note about the flood…the town telephone operator saved many from the flood by forewarning them, losing her life in the process. So now you know about Folsom.
Here is Capulin viewed from the north. Capulin is Spanish for choke cherry. The volcano was also a landmark for the Santa Fe Trail.
From a greater distance. I REALLY appreciate the forethought of interested people and government officials to protect this impressive landmark in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Our stationary cloud. Altostratus lenticularis.
On the Johnson Plateau along Highway 72 to Raton.
Most of the pit water holes in the area are dry.
A scruffy mule deer. Nothing like the 300 pound monster whitetails in Iowa!