El Malpais National Monument

Located in west-central New Mexico, El Malpais National Monument (NM) forms the core of the Mount Taylor volcanic region— one of the most significant volcanic areas in the U.S. The monument was established relatively recently, in 1987. It was established to protect significant natural and cultural resources, including landforms such as volcanoes, lava tubes and other cave systems, and cultural features including the Candelaria Pueblo Chacoan Outlier, archaic Paleo-Indian and prehistoric puebloan sites, cultural landscapes of five tribes, and evidence of Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. exploration and settlement activities. The history of human settlement in the area is provided by archeological evidence in the monument and dates back to 10,000 B.C. Some of the most unique of the many geologic features are the perennial ice caves.