A Geoscience Digital Image Library

TitleKilbourne Hole, Potrillo Volcanic Field, New Mexico
DescriptionKilbourne Hole is a maar volcanic crater, located 30 miles west of the Franklin mountains of El Paso, Texas, in the Potrillo Volcanic Field of Doña Ana County, New Mexico. The hole is a rare example of volcanic action without a mountainous rim. The theory of formation is that a volcanic eruption occurs in the presence of ground waters, beneath the surface of the earth. As the hot lava and magma encounter the waters, a huge bubble of steam is produced, which blows out a large crater; thus, it is not necessary for the lava and magma to build up a mountainous deposit. The crater is thought to be 80,000 years old. It is a very well known geologic site, especially because there are many mantle and crustal xenoliths sitting in loose sediment on the surface. This view shows the west rim of the hole. The volcanic features around El Paso and vicinity are part of the Rio Grande Rift, which extends northward into Colorado.
Geologic provincePotrillo Volcanic Field
LocationUSA ▹ New Mexico ▹ Dona Ana. Near El Paso.
PhotographerDexter Perkins. 2002.
Key wordsKilbourne Hole, New Mexico, Maar, volcano, xenolith
Tech details407 KB
GeoDIL number3113