A maar origin for Hunts Hole, Dona Ana County, New Mexico



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


Hunts Hole, a maar, formed by volcanic gas eruptions in middle or late Pleistocene time, is a mila-wide circular depression on La mesa surface of southern New Mexico with a raised rim composed of eruptive breccia, arenaceous tuffs, and accretionary lapilli tuffs. 8omb sag and directional features of cross-bedded rim material indicate that the tuffs were derived from a centrally located source. Comparison of these features at Hunts Hole with other nearby maare makes it possible to outline the geologic history of the local maar eruptions. An initial pile of coarse ejecta was covered by a low flattish cone of stratified volcanic sands which were periodically ejected from a central vent. Rains and/or condensation of volcanic steam penecontemporaneous with volcanism produced primary and secondary features.

Numerous depressions occur on La Mesa, but the three largest are maare. Most other depressions are simple deflation basins; however, collapsed lava tubes and fault aligned blowouts are common.