Explore the rugged yet lush wonderland of Aden Crater & Aden Lava Flow!
Located in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, this favorite Monuments to Main Street experience allows visitors to discover unique wildlife, geologic gems, and pockets of lush vegetation against the backdrop of stark black lava. In fact, the Aden Crater was the discovery site of an intact fossilized giant ground sloth specimen, currently on display at the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.
Although its name would suggest otherwise, Aden Crater is not a crater, but a small shield volcano in the Potrillo volcanic field. Shield volcanoes are created by lava slowly flowing out in all directions, as opposed to the more explosive eruptions of other types of volcanoes. Aden Crater is thought to have last erupted roughly 16,000 years ago. Just this year, the Wilderness that encompasses Aden Crater & Lava Flow was designated for preservation and protection under the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Along with Kilbourne Hole, Aden Crater was recently mapped out by NASA scientists in search of hollow lava tubes underground. These scientists are exploring the possibility that similar tubes might be identified on the moon or Mars, which may provide shelter from radiation for future astronauts. This is fitting, as local legends say that the Lava Flow is said to have been home to various outlaws and others on the run who sought its rugged shelter.