Indio Mountains Research Station

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Indio Mountains Research Station
Jerry Johnson

Established: 1992

Land area: appx. 40,000 acres

Current Use: Research

Former Uses: Open land, mineral exploration

Former Site Use: Open land

Location: appx. 25 miles (40 km) south of Van Horn, Texas
30.776667ºN, 105.015833ºW (site IMRS)

Indio Mountains Research Station (IMRS) came into being as a result of the generosity of a benefactor and the far-sighted vision of former UTEP President Haskell M. Monroe. Upon his death in 1907, the will of Boston industrialist Frank B. Cotton placed his estate, including land holdings in what is now Hudspeth and Culberson Counties, into a trust for the education of Boston women. Never able to meet such lofty expectations, the executor of the estate transferred the Texas property to UTEP (then the Texas College of Mines) in 1937 for back taxes owed on the land.

In 1984, most of the scattered parcels of land in Hudspeth and Culberson Counties were part of a land exchange with an adjacent owner to form a consolidated, contiguous tract of 38,238 acres. In 1987, at the urging of Biology Department Chairman Jack Bristol and Assistant to the President Wynn Anderson, former President Haskell Monroe proposed that the lands be managed with an emphasis on “research and instruction for the Biological and Geological sciences” at UTEP. In 1991, current UTEP President Diana S. Natalicio reaffirmed and broadened that educational purpose and approved a basic mission organization and goals statement for IMRS. In 1992, UTEP gained management responsibilities for the land from the UT System; IMRS then became a stable educational extension of the UTEP campus. An additional gift of two adjacent sections from Allar Corporation in 1992 added an additional 1280 acres to IMRS, which brought total holdings to 39,518 acres. Recent funding from National Science Foundation and other sources provided new facilities to IMRS, which enhanced its educational mission and field research activities in not only the Biological and Geological Sciences, but in Archeology/Anthropology and Environmental Sciences as well.

The headquarters of the Indio Mountains Research Station (is in the southeast tip of Hudspeth County about 40 km southwest of Van Horn, Texas. IMRS consists of about 40,000 acres. It contains most of the Indio Mountains, which is the lower southern spur of the Eagle Mountains located to the north. Elevations range from 900 to 1600 meters. Facilities at the headquarters include two dorms and bathrooms, the old Ranch House Lab, the New Lab, small sleeping building, an assembly hall that includes a kitchen, and a shed holding ATVs. All buildings and the water sources are powered with solar generated electricity .

Indio Mountains Research Station is within the Basin and Range Physiographic Province of North America. The topography is mostly the result of block-faulting. Tilted beds of mostly Cretaceous limestone can be seen in several directions from the ranch headquarters. Volcanic activity has further shaped the terrain and will be briefly discussed below. Block-faulting, folding, volcanic activity, contraction and extensional events in the earth’s crust have shaped the present mountainous terrain

Indio Mountains Research Station and UTEP are members of the Chihuahuan Desert Biosphere Reserve. Other members are the Biosphere Reserves of Mapimi in Mexico, Big Bend National Park and the Jornada Experimental Range (near Las Cruces, New Mexico).

Additional information can be found at the IMRS website.


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