Mesa Tucumcari viewed from the west.
|Elevation||4,956 ft (1,511 m)|
|Quay County, New Mexico, U.S.|
|Age of rock||Cretaceous|
|Easiest route||drive (private land)|
Where the mountain got its name is uncertain. It may have come from the Comanche word "tukamukaru", which means to lie in wait for someone or something to approach. A 1777 burial record mentions a Comanche woman and her child captured in a battle at Cuchuncari, which is believed to be an early version of the name Tucumcari.
Pedro Vial referred to the mountain in 1793, while opening a trail between Santa Fe and St. Louis. Captain Randolph B. Marcy led an expedition past it in 1849. The Swiss-American geologist Jules Marcou studied the geology of Tucumcari Mountain in 1853 and claimed that the Tucumcari strata were of Jurassic age. The Texas geologist, Robert T. Hill, visited "Mesa Tucumcari" in 1887 and again in 1891, and eventually concluded that the Tucumcari strata were much younger Cretaceous deposits, not Jurassic as suggested by Marcou. Also in 1891, William F. Cummins of the Geological Survey of Texas studied Tucumcari Mountain and his careful observations of the strata established beyond doubt the Cretaceous age of the Tucumcari beds.
The town of Tucumcari was founded in 1901 and, in 1908, took its name—both in real life and in legend—from the mountain. Residents of the town of Tucumcari have painted a hillside letter T on the mountain.
- Chronicles of Oklahoma
- "Tucumcari". New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- New Mexico Tourism | Regions Mesalands Scenic Byway
- Marcou, Jules. 1858. Geology of North America. Zurich: Zürcher and Furrer, 121 pp.
- Hill, Robert T. 1892. On the occurrence of artesian and other underground waters in Texas, New Mexico, and Indian Territory, together with the geology and geography of those regions. Final Reports of the Artesian and Underflow Investigations of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, 166 pp.
- Hill, Robert T. 1893. Tucumcari. Science 22(545):23-25.
- Cummins, W.F. 1892. Notes on the geology west of the plains: Tucumcari, New Mexico. In: Dumble, E.T. (ed), Third annual report of the Geological Survey of Texas 1891, pp. 201-210.
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