AFTON LAVA FLOWS

Welcome to the place stuck between Hunts Kilbourne volcanoes and Aden crater. This area is known as the lava flows that you drive over while going to visit Aden Crater. In reality Aden crater is a volcano that erupted and created its crater above the Robledo Fault that gave, rise to the Fissure and subsequently the Afton Lava Flows you are now looking at.The picture to the left and the one above this section give you an idea of just how large the lava flows are. They offer many interesting sculptures like lava ropes. Which is seen to in the picture right below and to the left of this paragraph.

One of the most unusual structures in volcanology (Study of Volcanoes), is the ability to see this natural phenomenon anywhere on the continental US. The best example of this type of lava shape is seen in Hawaii on the active volcano if Kiluea. If you don't mind seeing lava up close and personal, the movements of this slow oozing substance can create the lava ropes as seen to the left. Seeing them hardened however is relatively easy on the mainland, especially right here in the southwest. We have fine examples of Lava ropes and lava tubes all around Aden crater as well as Afton lava flows.

Lava tubes can be as small as a regular sewer line or as large as a house, some even on Hawaii can be as tall inside as a three-story building. Unfortunately most of the lava tubes in our area have been destroyed or are caved in due to the high number of earthquakes and the incredible amount of movement on the Rio Grande Rift. This rifting is the slow pulling apart of the plates in our area. As a result due to the fissure, Afton's flows were able to produce a lot of lava before being shut down and covered by Aden Crater. Follow the road log (directions) below and find you way to a multitude of lava formations. Some of them can indeed be as large as a house or even as wide as a river. Enjoy yourself.


 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.

12.7 - 46.5 - After passing this first major intersection you will be watching out for the following things, cattle guards, And a cattle loading station. This first thing you will cross over is the first of Afton's two lava flows. You won't cross over the second one because you will be between the two of them.

3.2 - 49.7 - The second thing you will need to watch out for is the cattle loading station and pen, where cattle are loaded onto train cars. It will be to your right, after the next cattle guard.

2.7 - 52.4 - this small road to your left is where you need to turn left and begin to enter the heart of the Afton lava flows.

.4 - 52.8 - As you wind your way into the flow itself, you can as you park and begin walking around see all of the wonderful features of the area, including some old man-made ones (Cattle pen and water tank as well as small windmill).

YOU WILL SEE A VARIETY OF ANIMALS

IN THE AREA AND REMEMBER THEY

ARE AS AFRAID OF YOU AS YOU

MAY BE OF THEM, BUT THEY

STILL HAVE THE ANTLERS

AND THEIR SIZE

ADVANTAGE

CAREFUL

 

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

For their invaluable contributions and knowledge

This page created by Markus G. Boenisch.