27 March 2014

Aden Crater

Posted by Callan Bentley


That’s Aden Crater, a Pleistocene shield volcano in southern New Mexico.

Here’s what it looks like from above (Google Maps view):


I also noted the position of two nearby maar craters: Kilbourne and Hunt Holes.

When you climb up to the edge of Aden and look in, you see the congealed and fractured remnants of a lava lake that once filled this to the brim (and indeed, spilled over the edges many times, as you can see in the satellite view above):


Hiking across this crust isn’t as profound as hiking across Kilauea Iki, but it’s super neat to get to the other side and see a spatter rim with awesome features.

Here, Mando (EPCC) points at the accumulated blips and bombs that make up the spatter rim.


An individual spatter bomblet looks like this:


And here’s what a few dozen of them look like, all welded together:


As I told the students then, this is a strong visual echo of a Mongolian latrine in mid-winter!

Nearby, there were super cool lava “slicks”:


Ernie stands atop (the volcanic vent would have been behind him):


And down in the foreground, you can see the big bomb/blob that slid down and made these striations:



A little mosey further, and we came to a fumarole vent which became the tomb of an unwitting giant ground sloth.


The skeleton is long gone, so here’s some students waving from the fumarole lip instead:


Looking away to the east, we could see the valley created when a lava tube collapsed:


For many of the NOVA students, this was the first time ever visiting a real volcano. They were psyched!

Rob (EPCC faculty), Sergio (EPCC), Josh (NOVA), Mercer (NOVA), Adriana (EPCC), and Denise (EPCC) enjoy the warm sunlight on the cool lava:


What a cool spot. Really worth the time to visit if you find yourself in the empty reaches of southern New Mexico.