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Digital Subscriptions > Rock&Gem Magazine > April 2019 > East Portillo Mountains

East Portillo Mountains

ABANDONED BARITE PROSPECTS OFFER ADVENTURE
The prospects are near the top of a small ridge and loose mineralized rocks surround the pits.

The East Potrillo Mountains are a long, narrow mountain range in southern Doña Ana County, New Mexico, near the border with Mexico. The mountains rise nearly 1,000 feet from the surrounding desert plains and reach an elevation of about 5,300 feet above sea level. While they are not large mountains by New Mexico standards, they still form an imposing barrier. Early travelers decided to go around them, so there are no roads or significant passes that cross the mountains.

Since the East Potrillo Mountains exist, logic dictates that there must be a West Potrillo Mountains. The West Potrillo Mountain range occupies the western part of the Potrillos volcanic field, which consists mainly of basalts and many volcanic features including splatter cones, cinder cones, and maars. The East Potrillo Mountains, in contrast, are an uplift ed fault block of almost entirely sedimentary rocks. The diff erence between the ranges is best viewed in a satellite photograph, which is easy to obtain on Google Maps. The West Potrillos volcanic field is dark and has many cinder cones and craters, while the East Potrillo Mountains are light and form a distinct ridge.

Bulletin 113 of the “New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Geology of the East Potrillo Mountains and Vicinity, Doña Ana County, New Mexico” is a good resource on the geology of the East Potrillo Mountains. This bulletin is available for download at http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/publications/monographs/bulletins/downloads/113/B113.pdf. Written by William Seager and Greg Mack from New Mexico State University at Las Cruces, the bulletin summarizes the geology of the East Potrillos and the mountains immediately north of the range.

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Rock & Gem April 2019, WorkShops in the Wild : Lifelong Learning at Wildacres, Emergence of Flourescence, Bladed Barite : In the East Potrillo Mountains, And More....