New Mexico's past includes volcanic activity | KOB 4

New Mexico's past includes volcanic activity

Colton Shone
May 15, 2018 06:34 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico has a rich history of volcanic activity. Many people wonder if the state could see a similar scene to what's happening in Hawaii and Kilauea's eruption. 


Larry Crumpler with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science said it's possible.

"New Mexico actually has more volcanoes than a lot of other states in the western United States. The true number is hard to say because there are small ones that haven't been counted but we're probably talking thousands," he said.

The Albuquerque Basin Volcanic area has the younger ones, but there are many older ones as well. For instance, Shiprock is the remains of a volcano that erupted tens of millions of years ago.

Crumpler said in the last 2 million years, there has been some volcanic activity in New Mexico about every 3,000 to 4,000 years. 

"So given that our last eruptions were 3,000 or so years ago, maybe we're overdue," he said.

Crumpler said the eruption in Kilauea, with the fire fountains and lava flow, is similar to what could be seen in New Mexico. He said the Albuquerque volcanoes were created by that kind of eruption.

Where would the next eruption be? Crumpler said they're keeping an eye one area.

"In the vicinity of Socorro, Belen. It's actually where most of New Mexico's earthquakes occur," he said. "We're sort of keeping an eye on it. It's fairly quiet. There's no indication it's going to erupt, but nonetheless, it is one of the few active magma bodies in the crust in the North American continent right now."


Colton Shone

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