Earth's Forces at Work
North of US Hwy 550 at San Ysidro village the colorful east-facing anticline cliffs of Mesa Cuchillo mark the area where four geologic formations come together;
the Colorado Plateau to the west,
the Sierra Nacimiento uplift to the north,
the Rio Grande Rift to the east,
and all three are crossed by the volcanism of the Valles Caldera to the north.
These large formations show the movements of the surface of the earth as it was molded by plate tectonics with stretching and upheavals, and by the volcanic forces that created the Jemez, Nacimiento, San Miguel and San Pedro Mountains. Take a minute to pull off the road to ponder the colorful cliffs that were created with sediment from deep seas at this interesting geologic intersection.