Geologic Features

More than 180 parks across the nation have significant geologic resources, and in many of the parks the protection of these resources was the purpose of park establishment. Of the 180 parks, 170 contain fossils that are noteworthy, 60 have cave and karst systems, 49 have volcanic features, and 24 have geothermal features. Among the many significant, fascinating, and beautiful geologic features in the American Southwest are the rock pinnacles at Chiricahua National Monument (NM), the cave and its formations at Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NP), the cinder cones at Capulin Volcano NM and Sunset Crater Volcano NM, other forms of volcanism at El Malpais NM (e.g., lava tube caves and ice caves) and Bandelier NM, Grand Canyon NP, and the glistening white sands of White Sands NM (the world’s largest gypsum dune field).