red dirt

May 14, 2023  •  4 Comments

The human brain is an extremely complicated entity.  And each human brain, although basically structured the same way, is different.  It dictates how we learn and how we remember.  Driving around the Jemez Mountains during the last couple of weeks has brought back memories but has also made me realize how our memories are heavily based on a person's age and interests at any given time.  For instance, I did not remember while driving the miles of highway shoulders and pullouts that they are composed of red dirt. I am so accustomed to seeing varying shades of tan or light brown sand and gravel that comprise dirt roads in the state, that I had totally forgotten or perhaps had never noticed the red.  Of course, I wasn't driving during many of those early visits to the Jemez and possibly was seeing different things. Too young to drive.  I suspect many of you have a broader knowledge of the geologic makeup of the region than I do.  Pumice, obsidian, flint, tuff, and red scoria are familiar to me.  But the rest I have just begun to research.  I knew it was there because several women from Jemez Pueblo showed a group of us young Girl Scouts where they procured their clay for making pots.  I would have no clue where those places were and would absolutely not be able to find them today. Regardless, the red sandstone remains, and it is just as brilliant and eye-popping as it was in the late 1960s.  Driving from Highway 550 to Highway 4 through San Ysidro and Jemez Pueblo to Jemez Springs, is a real visual treat.

I made this photograph of the geological jumble along the west side of the highway.  The pillars in the top of the image (could be maar deposits) give way to red sandstone layers of a different type and consistency.  It is vintage Jemez.

Jemez Country geology 2023 1Jemez Country geology 2023 1     


Layers worked by water and wind and time abound.

Jemez Country geology 2023 5Jemez Country geology 2023 5

Jemez Country geology 2023 2Jemez Country geology 2023 2

These resemble a human-constructed dwelling.

Jemez Country geology 2023 4Jemez Country geology 2023 4

Jemez Country geology 2023 3Jemez Country geology 2023 3

Sandstone guardian

Jemez Country geology 2023 6Jemez Country geology 2023 6

Thanks for Barbara F. R., Lisa S., Jim & Louise W., Steve, Geula, Catherine, Steve, Christina, Robert, Paule, Claudia, and Pauli for writing this week.  

Who knows what next Monday will offer?  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



Lawrence Jones(non-registered)
I've always thought the Jemez area to be one of the most beautiful area of New Mexico. Your photographs only reinforce my opinion. Simply stunning.
Thanks for the beautifully photographed geology!
Heather Herd(non-registered)
Thank you, as always for reminding of the wonders of New. Mexico, Daryl!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
That is a beautiful drive. We haven't done it in many years. I particularly like the wide shot which shows the variety of the formations. The vertical pillars, the horizontal striations and the pockets are classic red rock features that remind me of Sedona. As a kid growing up in Phoenix and spending time in Sedona and Mogollon Rim country, I'm transported to those early Arizona days.

I enjoyed this visit to the Jemez.
No comments posted.

January February March April May June July August (2) September (4) October (4) November (4) December (5)
January (4) February (4) March (5) April (2) May June July August September October November December