Professor Emeritus of Earth and Environmental Sciences

James T. Gutmann
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Wesleyan University
Middletown, CT 06459 USA
phone: (860) 685-2258


BA from Amherst College
PhD from Stanford University


Jim Gutmann's research concerns the behavior, petrology and mineralogy of volcanic systems. He works in the western United States and in the young volcanics of the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, northwestern Sonora, Mexico, an area that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recent and ongoing projects there include the age of Pinacate volcanism, relationships between Strombolian and hydromagmatic activity, and the geochemistry and origin of Pinacate lavas.


Jim Gutmann taught physical geology, mineralogy, entry- and upper-level courses in volcanology, and igneous and metamorphic petrology.

Selected publications on the Pinacate Volcanic Field

Gutmann, J.T., 1974, Tubular voids within labradorite phenocrysts from Sonora, Mexico: American Mineralogist, v.59, p. 666-672.

Gutmann, J.T., and Martin, R.F., 1976, Crystal chemistry, unit cell dimensions, and structural state of labradorite megacrysts from Sonora, Mexico:  Schweiz . Mineral . Petrogr. Mitt., v. 56, p. 55-64.

Gutmann, J.T., 1976, Geology of Crater Elegante, Sonora, Mexico: Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 87, 1718-1729.

Gutmann, J.T., 1977, Textures and genesis of phenocrysts and megacrysts in basaltic lavas from the Pinacate volcanic field: Am. Jour. Science., v. 277, p. 833-861.

Gutmann, J.T. and Sheridan, M.F., 1978, Geology of the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico:  Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology Special Paper 2, p. 47-59.

Gutmann, J.T., 1979, Structure and eruptive cycle of cinder cones in the Pinacate volcanic field and the controls of Strombolian activity: Jour. Geol., v. 87, p. 448-454.

Gutmann, J.T., 1986, Origin of four- and five-phase ultramafic xenoliths from Sonora, Mexico: American Mineralogist, v. 71, p. 1076-1084.

Lynch, D.J., and Gutmann, J.T., 1987, Volcanic structures and alkaline rocks in the Pinacate volcanic field of Sonora, Mexico: in Davis, G.H., and VandenDolder, E.M., eds., Geologic Diversity of Arizona and its Margins, Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology Special Paper 5, p. 309-322.

Lutz, T.M., Zhang, D., and Gutmann, J.T., 1989, Statistical analysis of vent locations in the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico: order within apparent chaos: Geol. Soc. America Abstr. Programs, v. 21, p. A206.

Lynch, D.J., Musselman, T.E., Gutmann, J.T., and Patchett, P.J., 1993, Isotopic evidence for the origin of Cenozoic volcanic rocks in the Pinacate volcanic field, northwestern Mexico: Lithos, v. 29, p. 295-302.

Gutmann, J.T., and Lutz, T.M., 1993, Middle Pleistocene shift in the pattern of vent distribution, Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico: Geol. Soc. America Abstr. Programs, v. 25, p. A-267.

Lutz, T.M., and Gutmann, J.T., 1995, An improved method for determining and characterizing alignments of pointlike features and its implications for the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 100, p. 17659-17670.

Gutmann, J. T., and Prival, D. B., 1996, Strombolian and hydromagmatic volcanism in the Pinacate volcanic field: Geol. Soc. America Abstr. Programs, v. 28, p. A-503.

Bezy, J. V., Gutmann, J. T., and Haxel, G. B., 2000, A Guide to the Geology of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve: Arizona Geological Survey, Down-to-Earth Series No.9, 63 pp.

Gutmann, J.T., Turrin, B.D., and Dohrenwend, J.C., 2000, Basaltic rocks from the Pinacate volcanic field yield notably young 40Ar/39Ar ages: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 81, p. 33-37.

Gutmann, J.T., 2002,Strombolian and effusive activity as precursors to phreatomagmatism: eruptive sequence at maars of the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 113, p. 345-356.

Gutmann, J. T., and Turrin, B. D., 2006, The age of Crater Elegante, a maar in the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico:  Geol. Soc. America Abstr. Programs, v. 38, no. 6, p. 32.

Gutmann, J. T., 2007, Geologic studies in the Pinacate volcanic field: Journal of the Southwest, v. 49, no. 2, p. 189-243.

Turrin, B. D., Gutmann, J. T., and Swisher, C. C. III, 2008, A 13 ± 3 ka age determination of a tholeiite, Pinacate volcanic field, Mexico, and improved methods for 40Ar/39Ar dating of young basaltic rocks: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 177, p.848-856.

Goss, A.R., Gutmann, J.T., Varekamp, J.C., and Kamenov, G., 2008, Pb isotopes and trace elements of the Pinacate volcanic field, northwestern Sonora, Mexico: a Basin and Range mini-plume near the EPR Spreading Center: Geol. Soc. America Abstr. Programs, v. 40, no. 6, p.530.

Goss, A.R., Gutmann, J.T., and Kamenov, G.D., 2009, A compositionally stratified mantle below the northern Mexican Basin and Range: trace elements and isotopic evidence from mantle xenoliths from the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico: Geol. Soc. America Abstr. Programs, v. 41, no. 7, p. 137

Gutmann, J.T., 2011, Estudios geológicos en el campo volcánico de El Pinacate: Calmus, T., ed., Publicaciones Ocasionales No. 5, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Geología, Estación Regional del Noroeste, 51 pp.

Photographs of the Pinacate

The Pinacate from an Orbital Spacecraft
Note the numerous cinder cones and maar craters. North is about 8 degrees counterclockwise from straight up. The volcanic field extends 70 km from north to south. The biggest maars are about 1 mile in diameter.

Click on the eighteen pictures below to see larger images.

( © Copyright 2000 James T. Gutmann. All rights reserved.)

Looking southeast over the Hornaday Range and MacDougal Crater to the Sierra Pinacate. Pinacate Peak rises to 1206m above sea level. Carnegie Peak, visible to the left (east) of Pinacate Peak, is shown in the next image.
Carnegie Peak is a cinder cone ca. 38 thousdand years old (Gutmann et al, 2000) of which the NE wall collapsed during eruptions to produce a debris flow extending toward the left foreground. A young basalt flow from the base of Carnegie Peak is further to the left. Gran Desierto and the Gulf of California are in the background.
Looking NW across Molina Crater (foreground) and MacDougal Crater, two maars at the NW edge of the Pinacate volcanic field.
View looking NW from the east rim of MacDougal Crater. The Hornaday Range is in the background. MacDougal Crater was named for Daniel T. MacDougal, botanist on the 1907 Hornaday expedition.
MacDougal Crater is about a mile in diameter from rim crest to rim crest and 131m in maximum depth. Molina Crater is in the left background.
Cerro Colorado tuff cone with Diaz Playa and a young basalt flow in the background.
Sykes Crater, a.k.a. Crater Grande, is a young maar about 1km in diameter and 219m deep.
Sykes Crater viewed from the south. The remnants of a cinder cone are evident in its northwestern walls.
Looking northwest along the outer slope of the cone surrounding Sykes Crater. Much of this cone was spared by collapse during formation of the maar. Dunes of the Gran Desierto are in the middle distance.
Crater Elegante from the southwest. This maar is about 1 mile in diameter and 244m deep. Note the old cinder cone south of the crater. Another cinder cone is partially visible in cross section in the crater's southeastern walls. Crater Elegante is 32 ± 6 thousand years old (Gutmann and Turrin, 2006). A "bathtub ring" of sediment deposited all around the shore of a lake that formerly occupied the crater is evident about 60m above the crater floor.
The internal structure of a cinder cone can be seen in the southeastern walls of Crater Elegante. Lynch (1981) named this Gutmann's Cone and reported its age to be about 433 thousand years, or much older than the crater.
Dike intruded radially outward from the vent in the cinder cone exposed in the walls of Crater Elegante. The crest and keel of the dike are exposed in the cliffs. Crest is horizontal.
Tecolote ("owl") Cone viewed from the south. Tecelote is a large cone with a complex history. Evidently it sprang leaks in several places.
View from the rim of Tecolote Cone looking northward across its crater floor and out through its breached northern wall to Mayo Cone in the distance. Gray cinders erupted from Tecolote mantle most of the outer slopes of Mayo cone in this view.
The Ives flow is a young (13 ± 3ka, Turrin et al (2008)) olivine tholeiitic basalt flow in the southernmost Pinacate. Seen here is a broad tumulus whose brittle crust fractured when it arched upward. The Sierra Blanca is in the background.
A spatter cone and spatter tube in the vent region of the Ives flow.
La Laja Cone is 12 ± 4 thousand years old by 40Ar/39Ar (Gutmann et al., 2000). This photo was taken in March 1970. The top of the cone has since been removed during cinder mining operations. Cerro Colorado is in the background.
Thin section of 5-phase (ol-opx-cpx-spl-pl) lherzolite from the mantle under the Pinacate volcanic field. Crossed nicols. Width of field of view is about 4 mm.