Capulin Volcano: Citizenship in the Nation Requirement 2d: National Monument

imageCapulin Volcano, New Mexico, is a cinder cone volcano that erupted during the Capulin period in the Rotan-Clayton volcanic field. It is over 8000 feet high, and offers great views of the volcanic field, including the Sierra Grande, and about 100 other little volcanos. It is possible on clear days to see 8000 square miles of plains and volcanos. Unlike other volcanos in the surrounding region, Capulin has a diversity of plant and animal life. The entire mountain is covered with trees, and on top of the volcano prickly pears grow and flying ants swarm (I can attest to this.)

There are two paved hiking trails on top of the volcano. The Crater Rim trail places you right between two steep drops, one into the crater and one off the face of the volcano, down to the plains below. It is a mile loop with plenty of views and benches, so it is definitely worth going on. The Vent Trail goes 0.1 mile down to the bottom of the crater, where you can see the spot where the eruption came from and which rockslides have now covered up.

Capulin Volcano is important to the people of America as one of the most recently extinct and biologically diverse volcanos in the nation. It offers great insights to volcanic formation and the last stages of extinction, as well as plant and animal colonization.

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