Stop 9: Looking to your left you can see the Jemez Mountains, formed by massive eruptions over one million years ago. In each of those two eruptions, this volcano spewed 600 times more ash into the air than Mt St Helen’s in 1980. Like Mt St Helen’s these eruptions were pyroclastic flows, where ash and debris travel rapidly down the mountain carried on a surge of hot gases. These flows can travel up to 450 miles per hour and these explosions deposited ash several thousand feet thick across the landscape forming the Pajarito (little bird in Spanish) Plateau. Subsequently the plateau has been carved into a series of narrow canyons and broad mesas by erosion.
Last updated: January 15, 2022