Capulin Volcano National Monument
Last erupted between 58,000 to 62,000 years ago
|Location||Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field, Union County, New Mexico, New Mexico, United States|
|Area||793 acres (321 ha)|
|Elevation||2,494 m (8,182 ft)|
|Established||U.S. National Monument|
|Visitors||59,615 (in 2017)|
|Operator||National Park Service|
|Website||Capulin Volcano National Monument|
Capulin Volcano National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in northeastern New Mexico that protects and interprets an extinct cinder cone volcano that is part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. A paved road spirals around the volcano and visitors can drive up to a parking lot at the rim. Hiking trails circle the rim as well as lead down into the mouth of the volcano. The monument was designated on August 9, 1916 and is administered by the National Park Service.
The visitor center features exhibits about the volcano and the area's geology, natural and cultural history, and offers educational programs about volcanoes. There is also a video presentation about the volcano. The name capulin comes from a type of black cherry, Prunus virginiana, that is native to southern North America.
Capulin Volcano National Monument is a well-preserved, relatively young (58,000 to 62,000 years old), symmetrical cinder cone. It rises steeply from the surrounding grassland plains to an elevation of 8,182 feet above sea level. The irregular rim of the crater is about a mile in circumference and the crater about 400 feet deep.
Capulin Volcano is one of the outstanding landmarks located in the northeast corner of New Mexico, where the rolling grasslands meet the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Capulin Volcano's highest point provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the volcanic field, distant snow-capped mountains, and portions of five states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado).
Capulin Volcano also offers visitors excellent opportunities for observing and understanding volcanic formation. The large volcanic field surrounding the monument contains at least 100 recognizable volcanoes, and aids visitors in gaining insights into 10 million years of the geological history of northern New Mexico.
According to the National Park Service:
On January 16, 1891, Capulin Mountain was
…withdrawn from settlement, entry or other disposition under any of the public land laws, until such time as Congress may see fit to take action touching the same or until otherwise ordered by competent authority…
On August 9, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson set Capulin aside as a U.S. National Monument by Presidential Proclamation No. 1340, to preserve "…a striking example of recent extinct volcanoes … which …is of great scientific and especially geologic interest…"
Public Law 87-635, 87th Congress, S.2973, September 5, 1962, amended the proclamation to "…preserve the scenic and scientific integrity of Capulin Mountain National Monument…" because of the significance of Capulin Volcano.
On December 31, 1987, Congress changed the Monument's name from Capulin Mountain National Monument to Capulin Volcano National Monument by Public Law 100-225 (101 Stat. 1547).
- Sierra Grande to the southeast
- Johnson Mesa to the northwest
- Eastern New Mexico
- Black Mesa (Oklahoma) to the northeast
- National Park Service. "Geology". Capulin Volcano. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
- "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
- Phinney, William (2015). Science Training History of the Apollo Astronauts. NASA SP -2015-626. p. 246.
- National Park Service. "History & Culture". Capulin Volcano. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
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