ADEN CRATER VOLCANO

Welcome to one of the most spectacular volcanic wonders of the southwestern area. Aden crater is one of the best-preserved volcanic features of the El Paso southwest. It is approximately the size of UTEPíS Sun Bowl Stadium, so give yourself at least two or three hours to fully explore the

First thing we would like to show you is what Aden crater might have looked like thousands of years ago. Although no one was around back then, It has to have been one of the most spectacular scenes in the area. The picture to your left is one of Kiluea Volcano. It is the famous Puu Oo, (pronounced Puh uh Oh Oh). It is approximately 500 feet high and has been erupting for several hours now. Thanks to the weather, the glowing lava can be spectacular on a cloudy day. Aden crater must have looked eerily similar to this in her more active days. Aden crater suffered a devastating collapse on the northern side of the volcano, which lead to its entire lava lake spilling out and covering the countryside. To The right you can see some of what remains of the lava vent.

  The actual vent area itself is not much larger than a standard football field, however it is obviously round, as you would guess. It is approximately 50 feet down to the center, which is covered, in large house-sized boulders. The smaller lava is numerous and can be as small as your hand. These are all the result of weathering of the volcano. The vent area to your right is located in the northeastern corner of the crater and is clearly visible as you walk by it. Do remember that this is a wild desert area and you might see numerous small animals like horned toads, prairie dogs, and other small lizards. Although Hawaii is known for having some of the richest coffee soil in the world, you should remember most that all of the soil in Hawaii is pulverized lava. This gives it its rich variety of nutrients. Now remember that El Paso is a desert, so although we have a large amount of lava from Aden, I do not think we could ever grow coffee plants very successfully down here in the southwest.

To the left you can see the vast amount of lava, which gushed out, as Aden's north wall gave way. This field is also mixed in with the older Afton Lava flow, the result of the Robledo fault, located somewhere below Aden Crater. The Afton lava flows will be discussed later on as will be driving over then to get to Aden crater. One of the wonderful things about the trip to Aden Crater is the fact that you will be driving over the Afton's flows as well as Aden's flows. Be very careful not to drive to fast over the flows, because they are very sharp, and can easily slash your tires if you are not respecting Mother Nature. Several months ago our brave Professor William Cornell was driving just a little to fast and as a result slashed one of your tires on the flow.

As you walk over to the northeastern side of the crater you can see the volcanic vent geologically known as a Fumerole. It is a cave like structure that leads down to the center of Aden model showing the giant much like the throat of the volcano. Above is the photograph of the plaster ground sloth found at the bottom of the fumerole.


According to Dr. Jerry Hoffer, chief volcanologist of the UTEP, the fumerole is a drop if 110 feet to the first base, sideways 27' one way and 78' in the other direction where the sloth was found. This area is called the sloth chamber. This giant ground sloth is no resting in the Smithsonian. Below is a detailed road log that will get you to the crater itself be sure to enjoy the desert southwest as you approach the crater. Later on you will be able to see other volcanic structures from the El Paso area, and one more thing, make sure you bring a camera as you can see from the pictures above, the area is a photographers canvas of the Chihuahuan Desert.

 MILES - Total Miles - Description

 0.0 - 2.7 - Leave the University Of Texas at El Paso and get onto Interstate 10 heading west although your compass will be pointing in a northerly direction.

 2.7 - 3.3 - Continue on Interstate ten until you reach the Mesa Street exit. Exit here but stay in the left lane, you will be turning left and passing under I-10.

 3.3 - 6.0 - Turning from the exit onto Mesa street you will be traveling in a westerly direction. Stay on this road until you get to the intersection with the railroad tracks, which you will cross over. The name will change from Mesa street to Country Club road. Follow this road until you get to NM270.

 4.9 - 10.9 - Turn right onto NM270 also known as McNutt Road, indicating you went from Texas to New Mexico, and follow this road north until you pas the Santa Teresa Airport.

 7.5 - 18.4 - Continue on and turn left on NM270 Also named Airport Road. It will curve sharply, follow this road until you cross the Santa Teresa Border crossing road. Turn Left On this highway which will immediately take you over a bridge that crosses a set of railroad tracks. Immediately after the bridge you will turn right onto a paved road that will lead you directly to the dirt road which leads to Aden, Afton, Kilbourne & Hunt's volcanic features.

 .7 - 19.1 - Cross the bridge, which will take you over the railroad tracks.

  .7 - 19.8- Turn right onto this paved road immediately upon reaching the bottom of the bridge. Follow this road until you cross another paved road and the road becomes a dirt road.

 14.0 - 33.8 - You will be passing a dirt road that curves off to your left, ignore this road this time but remember what it looks like you will be taking the same trip up till now if you decide to visit Kilbourne Hunts and Phillips Maar Volcanoes. You will follow this road when visiting these other volcanic sights. As you continue on this road take notice of the incredible variety of desert life. You might see rabbits, roadrunners, birds, hawks, even deer & coyote have been spotted.

 29 - 62.8 - As you approach the entrance to Aden crater you will have driven over the Afton lava flows twice. You will not be able to see the crater itself until you go around Aden's flows. Turn left onto this small dirt road and follow it around the right side of the flows. Don't follow it left or you will be trapped between the flows at a small private watering station for cattle. As you follow the flow to the right you will be able to see much of the natural desert's beauty. You will then be able to see Aden Crater ahead of you. The photograph at the top of this page is the view you will get.

 .8 - 63.6 - Follow this road until you see the volcano to your front left. There is a small parking area to your left where you might be able to see a couple of other cars or trucks that have brought other nature explorers to the crater. Park you vehicle next to theirs lock it up, just out of habit, and follow the small path to the base of the crater.

 It does not matter what side of the crater you crawl over it is passable by most people. The crater is now yours to explore. Take all the time in the world, however I would suggest leaving an hour before sunset, as the desert can be dangerous after nightfall.

BE VERY CAREFUL AS THE BOULDERS

YOU ARE CLIMBING ON CAN BE

LOOSE AND VERY DANGEROUS

Special Thanks to Dr. BETSY JULIAN and Dr. JERRY HOFFER

for their invaluable contributions and knowledge.

This Page created by Markus G. Boenisch