The Great Desert


The Valles Caldera appears in many images from US spacecraft -- it is distinctive distinctive, in the US, and at a low enough latitude that all launches from Cape Canaveral pass nearby. Here are a few additional images, and a complete (?) list can be found at David Neal's website.


Text and image annotations are copyright Allan Treiman 2003 (LPI); all rights reserved. Space Shuttle and Skylab images are public domain, , c/o Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Other images are available.


Road Logs and Guidebooks
  • LANL / ESS (2000) Road Geology of selected sections in the Pajarito Plateau and the Jemez Mountains, North Central New Mexico
  • Goff F., Kues B.S., Rogers M.A., McFadden L.S. and Gardner J.N., eds. (1996) New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook 47: Jemez Mountain Region. N.M. Geol. Soc. & N.M. Bur. Geol. Mineral. Res., 484 p.
  • Self S., Heiken G., Sykes M.L., Wohletz K., Fisher R.V. and Dethier D.P. (1996) Field excursions to the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Bulletin B-134, 72 p.
  • Chronic H. (1987) Roadside Geology of New Mexico. Mountain Press Publishing. 260 p.
Technical Articles
  • Heiken G., Goff F., Gardner J.N., and Baldridge W.S. (1990) The Valles/Toledo Caldera Complex, Jemez Volcanic Field, New Mexico. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 18, 27-53.
  • Spell T.L. and Harrison T.M. (1993) 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of post-Valles caldera rhyolites, Jemez volcanic field, New Mexico. J. Geophys. Res. 98, 8031-8051.
  • Goff F. and Gardner J.N. (1994) Evolution of a mineralized geothermal system, Valles caldera, New Mexico. Econ. Geol. 89, 1803-1832.
  • Toyoda S. and Goff F. (1996) Quartz in post-caldera rhyolites of Valles Caldera, New Mexico: ESR printing and discussion of ESR ages. p 303-309 in The Jemez Mountains Region, Guidebook 47th Annual Field Conference (F. Goff, B. Kues, M.A. Rogers, L.D. McFadden, J.N. Gardner eds). New Mexico Geological Society, Albuquerque NM.

Additional Images


Base image for the annotated geologic history on the Valles 1 and 2 pages. The Rio Grande (river) cuts north to south (top to bottom) along the east side of the scene. Los Alamos and its National Laboratory are in the center. Paler patches along the mesas are fire scars -- fire is an essential part of the Ponderosa pine woodland ecology.
Another Space Shuttle view of the Valles volcano (north= up), this time from overhead and centered on the caldera - the depression in the center of the volcano. The low plains in the caldera are covered with snow, and the higher, tree-covered slopes remain dark or lightly speckled with snow. The gorge of the Rio Grande (river) runs north-south cuts near the right edge of the image

Apollo 9 Winter view of the Jemez Mountains with the Valles Caldera, and the Rio Grande Valley. Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains are at the bottom center, the Sangre de Cristo mountains are at the right, and the Great Sand Dune in Colorado is at the top center.
LANDSAT False Color. This false-color image of the Jemez mountains and the Rio Grande valley emphasizes vegetation. Red on this image is brightness in near-infrared light (wavelengths near 1 micrometer), and plants generally are very bright in these wavelengths and relatively dark in visible light. Note the irrigated fields along the Rio Grande and other rivers. Grays and tan colors are rock and desert scrub land. [Red in the image represents brightness in near-infrared light (0.75 to 0.9 micrometers), green in the image represents brightness in red light (0.63-0.69 micrometers, and blue in the image represents brightness in green-yellow light (.525-.605 micrometers)].