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Land of Enchantment Becoming More Enchanting With Age

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October 21, 2009

SANTA FE, N. M. - The forces of nature that have shaped the beautiful New Mexico landscape, and inspired the likes of such artists as Georgia O'Keefe, will continue to make our surroundings even more dramatic in the future. That's the prediction of geologist Kirt Kempter.

Centuries worth of erosion have produced much of the state's distinctive terrain, particularly in the north, says Kempter. The process is likely to continue in years to come, he adds.

"I think it bodes well for Northern New Mexico, because erosion is what really produces the spectacular topography and features that we all enjoy."

Kempter says his discussion will focus on the geologic forces that formed the scenery around the Abiquiu area, which captivated O'Keefe. But in past eons, he explains, New Mexico was very different -- and actually at sea level.

"It probably looked a lot like the Gulf Coast of Texas or Louisiana, today -- meandering rivers with flood plains leading and producing deltas."

O'Keefe's life and work have seen a recent resurgence of public interest, thanks to a made-for-TV movie filmed in the area with a number of New Mexico actors. Kempter's talk kicks off a series of lectures on New Mexico's environment, to benefit the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. It begins tonight (Wed., Oct. 21) at 6:00 p.m. at the Hotel Santa Fe.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM