Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Valle Caldera National Preserve

The Valle Caldera National Preserve, also know as Valle Grande, was formed about a million years ago by a series of volcanic eruptions, which ejected a volume of material greater than that of the May 1980 eruption at Mount St. Helens.
The magnificent valley seen here was formed by collapse after this event, which climaxed more than 13 million years of volcanism in the Jemez mountains.
As recently as 50,000 years ago, the dome-like hills and peaks seen at the edge of the caldera were formed by magma leaking to the surface.
For over 10,000 years people have used the Caldera for hunting, gathering and as a source for obsidian which was used to make tools.
Today, a large herd of Rocky Mountain Elk use the Caldera for calving grounds and as their summer home. Turkey and chipmunks, prairie dogs and coyotes, bobcat and black bear roam over the nearly 89,000 acres.
Well hello!
Birds, including the Eastern & Western Meadowlark abound.
is this a young Mountain Bluebird?
A breeding pair of Golden Eagles summer in the Caldera. Brown & rainbow trout can be found in the rivers and pools.
Animals near the water.  Are they cattle or elk?
A private ranch from 1860 until 2000, it is still today a working ranch. It is now a place for recreation and studying ranching techniques, wildlife, forest health, geology and more.
The Valle Caldera National Preserve is on Hwy 4, 22 miles from Jemez Springs. Look for the main gate at mile marker 39.2

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