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Valles Caldera National Preserve

Valles Caldera National Preserve vä´yās [key], 89,766 acres (36,343 hectares), N N.Mex.; est. 2000 by Valles Caldera Trust, transferred to National Park Service 2015. Formerly part of the vast, privately owned Baca Ranch, the preserve lies at the heart of the Valle Grande (Jemez) Mountains and encompasses most of a 12–15 mi-wide (19–24 km) circular caldera formed after two massive eruptions about 1.6 and 1.2 million years ago. The basin is some 3,000 ft (915 m) deep, measured from the surrounding rim, which encircles several lava domes. The landscape is mainly a mixture of grasslands and forested mountains, cut by numerous streams, with hot springs, gas vents, and other volcanic features. Wildlife include such threatened or endangered species as the Mexican spotted owl, goshawk, Jemez Mountains salamander, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout as well as elk, mule deer, black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, and other mammals, and golden and bald eagles and other birds.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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