El Malpais National Monument, NM

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

El Malpais (Bad Country) is a large tract of lava flows in western New Mexico. As paises go, it's pretty mal.
Visitor center.
The best panoramic overlook is on the sandstone bluffs east of the lava flows.
The lava flows are part of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, which last erupted about 3000 years ago.
Left and below: Views of the flows from an overlook on the bluffs.
Boy, that was close! It just missed the road!
Samples of pahoehoe lava
Above: weathering pits in sandstone. Below: textbook polygonal fractures in dried mud.
Bench Mark
Below: Looking northeast to Mount Taylor, a stratovolcano which erupted 3.3 to 1.5 million years ago.  
Ruins of a ranch house.
Left and below: Views en route to La Ventana Arch
Above: La Ventana Below: the surrounding canyon
Left and below: views along the east front of the lava flows, headed north
Below: the lava flows
Ropy pahoehoe texture
The outlet of the flow near I-40
The flow actually went down-valley along the present route of I-40 for about five miles.

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Created 22 June 2007, Last Update 07 June 2020