Grants, New Mexico seems like a quiet place. Gentle hills and kind people are what one sees when entering the area. However, many years ago this area was hot with a violent volcano. This volcano covered the area called El Malpais with piles of black volcanic rock, basalt. Thick molten lava poured slowly from the volcano. The lava would cool on top, but underneath the lava continued to flow creating lava tubes. The Land of Fire and Ice had many lava tubes throughout the park. Many of the lava tubes collapsed. The ice age filled the lava tubes and one particular huge lava tube. As the ice age ended and the ice melted, one lava tube sheltered the ice and began acting like a refrigerator keeping the ice there.  

  In this area in a collapsed  lava tube one finds The Ice Caves.  An inspection of the lava rock at the ice caves revealed that the flow from the nearby volcano was very thick. This lava oozed along very slowly capturing bubbles. Several lava tubes are in this area. The Ice Cave itself is in a lava tube, which completes some of my wishes on my list. There were 63 steps into the edge of the cave inside this large collapsed lava tube. As we got closer we hit a wall of cold air. The air in the cave never rises above 31 degrees Fahrenheit. The ice is about 22 feet deep and exists from the ice age. 

We take off and head for Carlsbad with a stop at the lava fields East of White Sands. This area was not caused by volcano but by fissure. The Valley of Fires National Recreation Area is certainly a sight to see. This is a huge field of black lava. This lava is thick like the lava near the ice caves at the North-West edge of New Mexico. It is truly amazing to see fields of this volcanic rock cover all that land. 


Dad and I

Ice Cave I

Ice Platform

Artic Algae

Ice Wall

Lizard and Lava

Looking to the Fire

Red Fire

Valley of Fires

Pink in Valley of Fires

For more caves visit my Texas Caves page or Carlsbad Caverns.

 

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