Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Site Visits, Folsom Falls on the Dry Cimarron

In June, I had the opportunity to look at a restoration project on the Dry Cimarron River, near Folsom, NM. On the way back, we stop for a quick look at Folsom Falls. I wished I had the chance to stay longer and really hike around the fall for better vantage points, but we had a long drive back to our respective starting points.

Folsom Falls is formed by the Dry Cimarron River flowing over a lip of what Baldwin and Muehlenberger identified as the Baby Capulin basalt of the Raton-Clayton volcanic field (RCVF). The RCVF comprises mostly basaltic to nepheletic cinder cones, andesitic to dacitic necks and domes, and a very cute shield volcano named Sierra Grande (Baldridge, 2004). The RCVF is Pliocene-Quaternary in age, with volcanism commencing around 7.2 Ma and ending with the Capulin eruption around 60ka. RCVF is approximately contemporaneous with the Ocate Volcanic field, about 50+ miles to the west and is on the Jemez lineament, a zone of volcanism extending from the Springer volcanic field in east-central AZ to the RCVF. The Jemez lineament cuts across tectonic provinces, and as such, its origin is not well understood (Baldridge, 2004).

The view above looks south across the falls. The view to the left is looking downstream. The riparian habitat is well-developed, suggesting the surrounding ranchers aren't letting their cows in to graze (yay!). However, the local kids apparently use it as their party spot, judging from the amount of broken glass and other anthropogenic detritus.

I like the area, because it is very reminiscent of my home country in eastern WA, with lots of basalt, grasslands and the occasional hidden ponderosa stand, much like the landscape near Spokane, WA. There's a Spanish word, querencia, for a place from which one draws strength, which tugs at one's heartstrings. This area of New Mexico is definitely one of mine.

Google Earth image of the location.

Baldwin and Meuhlenberger sketch of Folsom Falls stratigraphy.



Baldridge, W. Scott, Pliocene-Quaternary Volcanism in New Mexico and a model for genesis of magmas in continental extension, in, The Geology of New Mexico, a Geologic History, NMGS, 2004

Baldwin, Brewster and Muehlenberger, William R., Geologic Studies of Union County, New Mexico, Bulletin 63, NMBMMR, 1959


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sbobet said...

Folsom Falls. I wished I had the chance to stay losbo
nger and really hike around the fall for better