ShipRock, New Mexico

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Location: 36o 41' 25" N, 108o 50' 19" W. Location of viewpoint: 36o 38' 23" N, 108o 49' 33" W.

ShipRock is a famous and conspicuous landmark in northwestern New Mexico, not far from where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. It is one of the world's best known examples of a volcanic neck, but probably never built a large volcano. Instead, magma probably intruded close to the surface, encountered ground water, and a large steam explosion blasted a crater in the ground.

The magma also fractured the rocks as it pushed upward, creating radiating cracks. Magma intruded into the cracks to form dikes. Since the rocks around ShipRock are very soft and easily eroded, the dike stands up as a vertical wall.

Original Scene

(author's image)

Possible Coloring

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Created 19 July 2009, Last Update 14 December 2009

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