Rio Grande Rift Valley
Santa Fe County New Mexico
The valley, a vast, irregular structural depression known as a graben, defines the distant landscapes about Santa Fe. The N-S lines of two major mountain chains sandwich the Rio Grande's southward flow past La Bajada, a significant land form.
The surrounding mountains provide watersheds, determine stream flow and direction, and moderate the N Chihuhuan Desert weather (rainfall and snowfall especially), which lend themselves to the attractiveness of Santa Fe as the city at the end of the Santa Fe Trail.