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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 34.8°N
  • 108°W

  • 2550 m
    8364 ft

  • 327120
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Zuni-Bandera.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Zuni-Bandera.

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Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1170 BCE

2550 m / 8364 ft


Volcano Types

Volcanic field

Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field covers an area of 2460 sq km along the Jemez lineament west of the Rio Grande Rift. An older volcanic episode, mostly from vents along the Chain of Craters, took place from about 3.8-3.7 million years ago (Ma); the younger episode began about 1.7 Ma and has continued until the present, forming an extensive area of young lava flows known as El Malpais. The youngest lava flow, the McCartys flow, traveled 60 km to the NE, fed by lava tubes up to 29 km long. The McCartys flow was recorded in Indian legends and was thought to have been erupted about 1000 years ago, but radiocarbon dating indicates an age of about 3000 years Before Present. The only other dated flow of Holocene age originated from Bandera Crater during the early Holocene about 9000-10,000 radiocarbon years ago. An earlier flow, the massive Pleistocene Fence Lake lava flow, traveled as far as 90 km to the west.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Dunbar N W, Phillips F M, 2004. Cosmogenic 36Cl ages of lava flows in the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, north-central New Mexico, U.S.A.. New Mex Bur Geol Geophys Bull, 160: 309-317.

Laughlin A W, Brookins D G, Causey J D, 1972. Late Cenozoic basalts from the Bandera lava field, Valencia County, New Mexico. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 83: 1543-1552.

Laughlin A W, Poths J, Healey H A, Reneau S, WoldeGabriel G, 1994. Dating of Quaternary basalts using the cosmogenic 3He and 14C methods with implications for excess 40Ar. Geology, 22: 135-138.

Lipman P W, Moench R H, 1972. Basalts of the Mount Taylor volcanic field, New Mexico. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 83: 1335-1344.

Maxwell C H, 1982. El Malpais. New Mexico Geol Soc Guidebook, 33rd Field Conf, p 299-301.

Maxwell C H, 1986. Geologic map of El Malpais lava field and surrounding areas, Cibola County, New Mexico. U S Geol Surv Map, I-1595.

Nichols R L, 1946. McCartys basalt flow, Valencia County, New Mexico. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 57: 1049-1086.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1170 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Radiocarbon (corrected) McCartys flow
8710 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Bandera Crater

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Bandera Lava Field | Malpais Volcanic Field | Grants Malpais


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Bandera, Cerro Pyroclastic cone 2550 m 35° 0' 0" N 108° 6' 0" W
Colorado, Cerro Cone
Encierro, Cerro Vent 2298 m 34° 53' 0" N 108° 3' 0" W
Hoyo de Cibola Vent 2380 m 34° 53' 0" N 108° 7' 0" W
Hueco, Cerro
    Deer Mountain
Shield volcano 2441 m
Lost Woman Cone - Crater 2459 m 34° 58' 0" N 108° 5' 0" W
Paxton Springs Cone 35° 4' 0" N 108° 4' 0" W
Rendija, Cerro Cone 34° 57' 0" N 108° 8' 0" W
Tetra, La
    Tetera, Cerro
Cone - Crater 2458 m 34° 59' 0" N 108° 3' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Bandera Crater Crater - Cone 35° 0' 0" N 108° 5' 0" W
Calderon, El Crater 2320 m 34° 58' 0" N 108° 1' 0" W
Laguna Fissure vent
McCartys Fissure vent 34° 48' 0" N 108° 0' 0" W
Twin Craters Crater 2423 m 34° 59' 0" N 108° 4' 0" W

Photo Gallery

Bandera Crater in the center is part of the Zuni-Bandera lava field that covers a 2460 sq km area of central New Mexico. The lava field contains 74 vents that erupted voluminous lava flows, including the 90-km-long Fence Lake flow and the youngest flow of the lava field, the 3000-year-old McCartys lava flow. The McCartys flow traveled 60 km to the north, extending to the base of the Mount Taylor range, the peak in the distance.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1987 (Smithsonian Institution).
Bandera Crater, one of the youngest features of the Zuni-Bandera lava field, is a breached cinder cone that fed a lava flow dated about 9000 BC. The Bandera lava flow forms part of El Malpais (Spanish for "badlands"), the largely unvegetated, youngest Quaternary basaltic lava flows that cover a broad area south of Grants, New Mexico.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1987 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Zuni-Bandera in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Zuni-Bandera Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.