Huerfano Butte and
Walsenburg, Colorado

James S. Aber

Walsenburg was founded on the basis of coal mining in uppermost Cretaceous rocks at the northern end of the Raton Basin. The coal-bearing strata are in a geological position equivalent to strata at Trinidad, another coal-mining district--see geological map. Coal from Trinidad and Walsenburg was shipped to Pueblo for use in steel making; however, coal mining ended some time ago.

Conspicuous dikes trend across the Walsenburg vicinity, and a small intrusive plug is exposed to the northeast at Huerfano Butte. Huerfano means orphan, which describes its situation as an isolated landmark on the High Plains.

View of Huerfano Butte from I-29 looking eastward. Notice the two-tone appearance of the butte. The right (south) side is dark colored, whereas the left side is relatively light. Image date 5/03.

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GO 547/ES 747 © J.S. Aber (2004).