|The Volcano Rim|
About 60,000 years ago, Capulin Volcano erupted, forming the cinder cone volcano we see today. This area is home to the 8000 square mile Raton-Clayton volcanic field. The cinder cone rises over 1300 feet above the plains to reach 8,182 feet elevation. Mostly made up of loose cinders, ash and other rock debris from the eruption, Capulin preserved its cone-like symmetry because the later volcanic flows came from its boca (spanish for mouth) at the cones western base. Mountains all around are capped with volcanic ash and tuft.
They say Capulin is "extinct" but I have my doubts. I believe we live in a worldwide volcanic 'pause' that may someday restart. When that day will come, who knows. Regardless, I chanced it and drove to the volcano's top and descended into its crater on a short hike.
|Looking west across New Mexico from the rim|
Local legend says that Capulin was named for the Spanish word for chokecherry, which grows throughout the park along with mountain mahogany, scrub oak and three-leaf sumac. Chokecherry pies are an awesome local treat, if you have never had one. Pinyon pine, juniper and ponderosa pine grow throughout the park along with prairie grasses and abundant wildflowers. From the volcano top you can see New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma on a clear day. The views from the parking area are nice too!
|Windy photo of yours truly from inside the crater, next to the vent|
|Inside the Capulin crater|
|Looking north from the rim|