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30 December 2017

Normal faulting in the San Felipe Volcanic Field, New Mexico

A glance out the airplane window over New Mexico triggers a bit of web research and a new view of tectonic extension via Google Earth and geologic maps.


9 August 2017

A suite of new 3D models

A showcase of five new 3D digital models of awesome rock samples and outcrops, produced using Agisoft Photoscan.


4 August 2017

Friday fold trio: Samples from UNM, ABQ

It’s Friday and that means “fold time” here at Mountain Beltway. Today, we feature a trio of samples on display in the halls of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico.


27 May 2016

Friday fold: Castile Formation GIGAmacro

I’ve posted here before about the extraordinary intra-layer folds in the varved evaporite deposits of West Texas’ Permian Basin, but today I can go one better and offer a GIGAmacro look at these lovely folds: [gigapan id=”187629″] Link GIGAmacro by Callan Bentley Enjoy checking these amazing small-scale folds out. They will boggle your mind.


10 February 2015

Pisolites in the Tansil Formation, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Pisolites are large primary concretions that develop in backreef or lagoonal settings such as the Permian Tansil Formation of New Mexico, into which is cut the enormous hole called Carlsbad Caverns.


16 April 2014

Turitella in Buda Formation limestone

Back to Texas, today. Here’s a cross-sectioned Turitella snail from the Buda Formation limestone: It’s exposed in a block of rock on the north side of Mt. Cristo Rey. You can explore these GigaPanned blocks of the Buda in search of your own Turitella… How many can you find? [gigapan id=”129425″] link [gigapan id=”129426″] link [gigapan id=”129424″] link


2 April 2014

The wonder of cracking open a xenobomb

On “Border to Beltway”‘s visit to Kilbourne Hole, after we whet our appetite with Hunt’s Hole, Michael finds a xenobomb. Ernie and Boris look on with envy: A “xenobomb” is a xenolith (in this case, of mantle peridotite), slathered in a coating of lava and tossed out of a volcano in the middle of a liquid droplet (a bomb). Here’s what they look like in cross-section: You can experience some …


16 May 2013

GigaPanning Kilbourne Hole

Kilbourne Hole is the crater of a maar volcano in southern New Mexico, just across the state line from El Paso, Texas. I went there the weekend before last with a team from El Paso Community College, led by Joshua Villalobos. This is the place where xenobombs come from! If you go to the right area, you can find dozens of these mantle xenoliths sheathed in fine-grained basalt, like chocolate-coated …