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Geologic Tour of New Mexico — Landmarks & Other Features

The wide-open landscape of New Mexico makes it possible to see landmarks from great distances. Some of the more geologically interesting landmarks, scenic areas, and historical sites — that are not otherwise set aside as parks, monuments, or refuges — are described in detailed virtual tours.

Use criteria in the form below to search by region, physiographic province, keyword, or county. Combining search criteria may provide few or no results. You can also explore the map and click on sites directly.

There are currently 23 tours:


Shari Kelley

Tsiping, also called Tsi’pin or Tsi’pinouinge, is a remarkable pueblo ruin located on Pueblo Mesa near the village of Cañones in the northern Jemez Mountains. Although the site is on Santa Fe National Forest land, the site is off limits unless you have a permit. Permits can be obtained from the Coyote Ranger Station.

Tsi’pinouinge means “village of the flaking stone”, a reference to the village’s proximity to lithic-source quarries in the Pedernal Chert on Cerro Pedernal. Based on tree-ring measurements and ceramic styles, Tsiping was occupied between 1200 AD and 1325 AD, during the Classic Period. Tsiping was the northernmost and largest of the Classic Period pueblos. The village had somewhere between 335 to 400 ground floor rooms, sixteen kivas, and a central plaza. Cavate dwellings are located on the southeastern side of the mesa.

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Tyrone Mine

Richard Kelley

The Tyrone mining district, the second largest porphyry copper deposit in New Mexico, is located 10 miles southwest of Silver City in the Burro Mountains of southwestern New Mexico. Native Americans initially mined turquoise from the area around 600 AD. Underground mining was established in the early 1860s and the current mode of mining, open-pit stripping, began in 1968. The mine became part of Freeport-McMoRan in 2007. Parts of the pit are currently being reclaimed.

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Zuni-Bandera Volcanic Field


The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, in northwest New Mexico, has had many episodes of basaltic eruptions over the last million years. The youngest lava flow in the field is the McCartys flow, which is only 3000 years old, one of the youngest volcanic features in the 48 contiguous United States! The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field has produced many basaltic lava flows, some with a-a characteristics, and some that are paheohoe. There are also a number of well-preserved cinder cones that can be visited, as well as many lava tubes, some of which contain perennial ice. The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field is an excellent site for studying physical volcanology of basaltic magmatic systems.

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