NEW MEXICO is the southeastern State of the Mountain group,
bounded on the north by Colorado, on the cast by Oklahoma and
Texas, on the south by Texas and Mexico, and on the west by
Arizona. The northwestern corner of the state, joining Arizona, Utah,
and Colorado in a common comer, is the only place in the United States
where four States so meet. In size, New Mexico is the fourth largest of
the forty-eight States, its area embracing 122,634 square miles of land
ranging in elevation from lofty mountain peaks to low arid plains and
Of the eight major physiographic divisions of the United States three
are present in New Mexico. The major divisions are composed of
provinces, and the provinces in turn of sections. Parts of four prov-
inces and eight sections are in New Mexico. Seven of the eight sec-
tions lie within 50 miles of Santa Fe. Few other cities can claim such
a strategic position.
The Southern Rocky Mountains Province lies in the north-central
part of the State; the Great Plains Province, with its three sections
—the Ratón, Pecos Valley, and High Plains—occupies the eastern
third; the Colorado Plateaus Province, embracing the Navaho and
Dátil Sections, is in the northwest quarter; the Basin and Range Prov-
ince with its two sections, the Mexican Highland and Sacramento,
occupies the southwest quarter and central portion.
The Rocky Mountain System of the Southern Rocky Mountains
Province is made up of complex mountains of various types. This is
the highest and most rugged part of the State, and contains Pleistocene
glaciation and striking scenery, outstanding features of which are the
Sangre de Cristo, Jémez, and Nacimiento Mountains, and the Rio
The Interior Plains of the Great Plains in the Ratón Section show
dissected lava-capped plateaus, mesas, and buttes; deep picturesque can-
yons, volcanic cones; Park Plateau, Ratón Mesa group, Ocaté and Las
Vegas Plateaus, and Canadian Escarpment.
Pecos Valley Section, of late mature to old plain, is a long trough
occupied by the Pecos River, and includes the Roswell Artesian Basin.
The High Plains Section shows the broad intervalley remnants of
smooth river-formed plains; the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plains, is as
flat as any land surface in nature.