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Excursion to El Malpais & Xenolith Cave

El Malpais
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 8:00am
El Malpais National Monument
Archaeologist Jennifer McCrackan

At Home in the Badlands
The El Malpais area was shaped by molten fire for the past million years, forming expansive lava fields and lava tubes.For centuries people have lived around and sometimes in the lava country. Early inhabitants crossed the lava flows with trail cairns and petroglyphs. Spanish empire builders detoured around it and gave it the name used today. Homesteaders settled along its edges and tried to make the desert bloom. The stories of all these people are preserved in the trail cairns, petroglyphs, wall remnants, and other fragments that remain in the backcountry.

Archaeologist JenniferMcCrackan will guide a tour of the archaeology of the area featuring the Xenolith cave. Description: the front of Xenolith cave and up to the area with the ladder is quite open and free of debris.  Further in the cave, there is break down and requires some climbing around boulders, then you get to the 10 foot ladder.  After the ladder, there are crawling areas and small tunnels.  I was planning on taking everyone through the area before the ladder and then take any volunteers down the ladder.  I am not planning on exploring the crawl tunnels due to physical and time restrictions.

Jennifer McCracken, BS, Anthropology UNM 2010, MA Archaology 2018, California State University at Los Angeles has studied the human ecology of the Southwest U.S. for over 10 years.  She has been employed by the National Park Service since 2015, leading archaeology research and educational experiences for a wide range of park visitors.

Cost: $60 per person, UNM Tuition remission accepted, Friends of the Maxwell discount. Optional van $10
Contact for registration materials & questions.

8am - 4pm

White-nose syndrome
WNS is a devasting wildlife disease that has
killed millions of hibernating bats since it first appeared in the United States a decade ago. WNS has killed over 6 million bats as it moves west across the United States and has driven two species to be listed as endangered. While WNS is not harmful to humans, this loss of bats has substantial ecological impacts.

WNS Protocol: Preventative measures are in effect to stop the human spread of the fungus that causes WNS in bats. As a result, any cave gear used in WNS-affected state may not be used in any cave in New Mexico.