El Malpais National Monument

National monument, western New Mexico, U.S. Located at an elevation of 6,400–8,400 ft (1,950–2,560 m), it covers 114,716 acres (46,424 hectares), including a lava flow area of 85,000 acres (34,400 hectares).

Features include a 17-mi (27-km) lava tube system, a number of ice caves, volcanic cinder cones, one of New Mexico's largest natural arches, and more than 20 gas and lava spatter cones. Designated a national natural landmark with the name Grants Lava Flow in 1969, it became a national monument in 1987.

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      high-valley lava flow area, Cibola county, west-central New Mexico, U.S., about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Grants. The area covered by black lava flow extends about 133 square miles (344 square km), although the monument itself covers 179 square miles (464 square km).

      The elevation of El Malpais (Spanish: “The Badlands”) ranges from about 6,400 to 8,400 feet (1,950 to 2,560 metres). Features include a 17-mile- (27-km-) long lava tube system, a number of ice caves, volcanic cinder cones, one of New Mexico's largest natural arches (La Ventana), and more than 20 gas-and-lava spatter cones. The area is also believed to have been a point of contact for the Mogollon (Mogollon culture), Ancestral Pueblo (Ancestral Pueblo culture) (Anasazi), Patayan, and Sinagua cultures; there are many ruins in and around El Malpais. A number of ecosystems are found at El Malpais. Oneseed juniper and piñon pine are the dominant tree species. Deer and antelope and mutant black-furred field mice inhabit the area.

      The McCarty Lava Flow (the formation that constitutes the bulk of the monument) was designated a national natural landmark in 1969. In 1974 its designation was changed to outstanding natural area, and in 1987 it became a national monument under its present name.

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Universalium. 2010.

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