— October 10, 2019
Bureau of Geology staff attended the New Mexico Geological Society (NMGS) 70th Annual Fall Field Conference in Clayton, New Mexico from October 3rd-5th. Conference participants traveled each day through Union and Colfax Counties in the High Plains of northeastern New Mexico discussing recent advances in the understanding of regional volcanism, Mesozoic to Cenozoic sedimentary stratigraphy, groundwater recharge systems, and Quaternary geomorphology. The conference was co-lead by Bureau Field Geologist Dr. Matthew J. Zimmerer, along with Dr. Frank C. Ramos, of New Mexico State University, and Dr. Kate E. Zeigler, of Zeigler Geologic Consulting, LLC.
Sights visited include Capulin Volcano, a young cinder cone in the extensive Raton-Clayton volcanic field that erupted about 55 thousand years ago, and Eagle Rock Dike, a much older alkali-rich mafic dike that intruded through Cretaceous sedimentary rocks about 24 million years ago. Conference participates examined injectites, large liquefaction features in late Triassic sedimentary rocks that may have formed in response to seismic activity, and an impressive angular unconformity between Triassic and Jurassic sedimentary rocks at Steamboat Butte. In more recent geologic history, the conference explored how the region’s high topography impacts groundwater recharge in Union County, and how extensive landslides have affected modern topography in Dry Cimarron Valley.
At the NMGS Fall Field Conference, people from across the state and country come together to learn about the unique geology of New Mexico. The conference is well attended by students from New Mexico universities, giving students and professionals the opportunity to network and form connections that foster collaboration within the geologic community.
In addition, NMGS publishes the road log and field guide produced for each conference. They can be purchased through the Bureau website, at the Bureau of Geology bookstore in Socorro, or through the NMGS website. Check the NMGS website for information about the 2020 Fall Field Conference to Mt. Taylor, New Mexico!