Situated within the American Southwest on the Continental Divide, in Grants New Mexico, the Bandera Volcano lies dormant, adjoining to the geological surprise of a subterranean ice cave.
Because it stands right this moment, the volcano is a chief instance of a cinder cone, a set of unfastened pyroclastic fragments, resembling volcanic clinkers, volcanic ash, or cinder that has been constructed round a volcanic vent.
Bandera erupted roughly 10,000 years in the past, (very just lately geologically talking), spewing lava that created a 23 mile lengthy ‘river’. The flowing lava shaped an air pocket (or lava tube), which because the lava cooled, the tube partially collapsed right into a sinkhole and an open-faced cave.
Over the previous 3,400 years, the cave has trapped rainwater via the porous and naturally insulating construction of the lava rock. Usually, lava flows are fractured from the cooling course of, nevertheless, in a freak-of-nature occasion, the Bandera Ice cave was born.
As a result of cooler air sinks and hotter air rises (pure convection), and because of the caves distinctive form, chilly air is trapped inside which maintains a mean temperature of round 30-31 Fahrenheit, or -0.5 Celsius. The lava partitions and ground completely insulate the cave from the hotter climate outdoors.
Over the previous three millennia, the ice has grown to be about 20 toes thick and is tinged with a blue-green hue due to trapped arctic algae being mirrored by the solar, while skinny layers of ice are continuously forming attributable to rainwater that seeps into the cave and freezes.
Along with the pure fantastic thing about the volcano and ice cave, the location has seen human exercise for not less than the previous 1200 years. Late Anasazi and early Pueblo individuals occupied the cave, forsaking a plethora of stone instruments, pottery shards and lots of utterly intact pottery vessels. A number of Anasazi ruins have additionally been found close to the volcano across the base of the lava circulation, whose inhabitants stacked lava rocks to kind partitions that insulated their shelters.
The Bandara web site has been managed by the ice cave household for the reason that early nineteenth century, who first bought the land in 1915 and used the ice from the cave to chill the beer in an area saloon.
One other web site on the volcano is the forest of Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine timber that develop gnarled and twisted out of the lava tubes. A few of the oldest timber within the nation dwell right here, with the oldest being round 700 years outdated.
Header Picture Credit score : Kerrick James / Alamy Inventory Photograph