Photo Gallery of
Some of My Favorite Geological
Localities in the American Southwest
All photos by Jim Reynolds unless otherwise credited
|The tracks of two different
dinosaurs are preserved in the Cretaceous limestones at Dinosaur Valley
State Park near Glen Rose, Texas. The tracks on the left were made by a
carnivorous theropod (perhaps Acrocanthosaurus) and those on the
right were made by an herbivorous sauropod (perhaps Pleurocoelus).
One hypothesis is that the therpod was attacking the sauropod as these
tracks were made. It is impossible, however, to determine whether or not
these tracks were made at the same time or minutes, hours or even days
apart. Other tracks are visible in the nearby Paluxy River. This is also
the site where creationists claim that human footprints occur in the same
strata as the dinosaur prints. Upon viewing the evidence, I determined
that their claim must be an alcohol-related incident!
||El Capitan is a Permian-aged limestone reef exposed
at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas. A trail through the
reef reveals fossils of the organisms that made up the reef community at
the end of the Paleozoic Era. Most of these organisms became extinct at
the end of the Permian when about 90% of Earth's life forms died out during
the greatest crisis ever experienced by the biosphere.
|Winds blowing across Jurassic-aged
gypsum deposits to the west of White Sands National Monument in southern
New Mexico created a large dune field of low, white gypsum dunes. The Jurassic
gypsum was deposited in a restricted bay off of a seaway that flooded
most of this region. The world's first atomic explosion took place near
||At Bandelier National Monument, near Santa Fe,
New Mexico, members of the indigenous Anasazi culture lived in holes in
the rock that were created when large blocks of pumice weathered out of
the rock. The rock is the Bandelier Tuff--an explosive volcanic rock of
rhyolitic composition. It blanketed the entire region when an enormous
eruption occurred in the nearby Jemez Mountains about a million years ago.
by Haidee Wilson)
|A cliff of the Bandelier tuff exposed in the Jemez Mountains of New
Mexico. The tuff is actually composed of the deposits of two major eruptions
of the volcano seen in the two large cliff faces. Subsequent eruptions
during the last million years produced the deposits at the top of the cliff.
||Valle Grande is the floor of
the Valles Caldera--the volcano in the Jemez Mountains that erupted the
Bandelier Tuff. The surrounding mountains are composed of rhyolitic domes.
The base of the distant forested slope is more than 10 km away. The valley
floor has been owned by the same family since it was granted to them by
the King of Spain in the 1600's. Numerous cattle, as well as deer and elk,
can often be seen grazing in the meadow.
|A large dinosaur trackway is exposed in Cretaceous
strata at the spillway at Clayton Lake State Park, New Mexico, near the
NM-TX-OK state lines.
||The Capulin volcanic field, in northeastern New
Mexico, has numerous cinder cones and basaltic lava flows, many of which
erupted during the last one million years.. This photo was taken from the
summit of the cone in Capulin Volcano National Monument looking to the
|The Río Grande cuts through the Mio-Pliocene
basaltic lava plateau that accumulated in the Río Grande Rift near
Taos, New Mexico. Numerous individual lava flows are exposed in the cliffs
in the canyon at the Orilla Verde campground. The rift marks the eastern
boundary of the Colorado Plateau. (Photo by Haidee Wilson).
||Cabezon is the largest of numerous volcanic necks
exposed in a volcanic field northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This
field aligns with the Jemez Mountains and the Capulin volcanic field, as
well as other volcanic features to the southwest, suggesting that a linear
structure is responsible for much of the volcanism in the region.
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Last updated February 21, 2006