The Malpais (badlands) are now part of El Malpais National Monument. The barren scenery is a result of ancient lava flows within a basin surrounded by sandstone bluffs that have been eroded by wind and water into startling, eerie formations. Baumann commented on this strange and intriguing vista: “There is a feeling of rightness in the confusion of shapes thrown about on the landscape with its multicolored ash, mud, and lava flows, and yet it is disconcerting when I find that what gives it art value is no more than a thin film of iridescence caused by the atmosphere.”
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