KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level.

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face. Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles.

Many movies have been shot in the area: Silverado, Lonesome Dove, Young Guns II, High Desert Kill and Earth II

We took the 1.5 mile Canyon Trail with many spectacular views. It is a magical place.

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© 2019 Anita Ruthling Klaussen