Preamble: This is a long post. And it intentionally makes no claim one way or another about any of the reported happenings at Archuleta Mesa,
more commonly known as the "Dulce Base." This is merely an attempt to determine whether or not it is reasonable to think that an
installation could have been built at the time. I apologize for the length, but I could not think of any way to split it up as Gazrok did with
Roswell, and while some of it is rather editorial, the majority of it is relevant. Any comments are most welcome; if you find any flaws, please
don't hesitate to let me know. I hope that if nothing else this stimulates some more serious thought into the area, and any criticism is
appreciated. So, without further ado...
There’s something happening here;
What it is ain’t exactly clear…
—Buffalo Springfield, "For What it's Worth"
In the ufology field, like any other research area, the material falls in a large spectrum of publicity. At one end, there’s the Roswell incident
of July 6th, 1947, where the military allegedly seized a crashed space craft. There’s the Travis Walton abduction case, popularized in the 1993
movie “Fire in the Sky.” The abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in late 1961 has received lesser fanfare, but is still a favorite among
believers. There’s the lesser known “Battle of LA,” where the military fired on an unknown object in the early morning of February 25th. At the
other end of the spectrum lay the innumerable eyewitness accounts and tales that never receive any attention at all, and often are debunked without
more than a cursory glance.
Somewhere in the midst of this spectrum, towards the more quietly spoken end, lies the story of the Archuleta Mesa, commonly referred to as the Dulce
Base (due to Dulce, NM being the nearest town.) While a detailed account is beyond the scope of this paper, a brief overview of the story as
accounted on AboveTopSecret.com is in order.
Under the Archuleta Mesa in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, the United States military maintains an extremely confidential, multi-level
facility dedicated to research of extraterrestrial beings and technology. A large number of extraterrestrial beings are said to reside in this
facility, from various races and worlds. In 1979, there was a revolt of the aliens, and the majority of the human workforce was killed. While the
base was closed for a brief period of time, it was eventually reopened and operations recommenced.
Regardless of the validity of the story, it does make for excellent reading. Aliens, government conspiracies, secret bases, it’s all the bread and
butter of any science fiction writer. Throw into the mix the various accounts of cattle mutilations, mysterious helicopters loitering in the area,
and strange lights in the skies. You now have a plot worthy of any Hollywood production team.
While the story of the aliens being held and having a small war is farfetched, prior to dismissing it out of hand one of the more mundane aspects of
the story needs to be considered. Is it even reasonable for such a base to have been constructed? In order to determine the plausibility of such
construction, there are several variables that must be considered.
The Archuleta Mesa, as stated above, is situated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. It is definitely tall enough to maintain a large
internal structure, standing at approximately 9,236 feet in elevation. However, the mesa stands on an intrusion of augite andesite (granite) over 300
feet thick. While this in itself does not necessarily preclude an installation being built to any depth below the mesa, it would make for the
extension of the base below this sill rather difficult.
One side effect of major digging operations, which include the blasting of hard bedrock, can be found on any seismograph station in the area the
digging takes place. The usage of explosions, as well as the natural re-shifting of rocks in the tunnels, will register as earthquakes, sometimes as
high as magnitude 4. When one pores through the seismological catalogs for New Mexico, the year 1966 was quite busy for the Archuleta Mesa region,
with a total of nine earthquakes located, ranging in magnitude 1.5 to 3.2 on the Richter scale. It should be noted that the USGS Earthquake History
for New Mexico article states that a magnitude 5.5 tremor struck the nearby town of Dulce, New Mexico on January 23, 1966. The seismic catalog used
for reference in this paper states the event as ranging from 4.8 on the Richter scale to 5.1. While this event may very well be of natural
occurrence, it is not too difficult to imagine the earthquake was enticed by manmade activities, especially when one considers the relatively low
activity of the area.
All of the 1966 earthquakes happened in late January through early February, which does give rise to the idea that they were a naturally occurring
sequence of pre/aftershocks with the above stated earthquake as the main tremor. This is not entirely out of the question, given the location of a
small fault line running under the mesa. However, it is interesting to note that only two other earthquakes were noted in the area between 1962 and
1995, neither with noticeable precursor or aftershock activity. This makes the burst of activity in early 1966 somewhat suspect, although not
necessarily an exact indicator. However, assuming that there is an underground facility at the mesa, January of 1966 can be looked at as at least one
step in the construction phase of the base.
Given the extent of planning that needs to be done for any reasonable underground construction, a facility such as this would have to have been
presented for design years before the first scoop of the shovel. While other factors such as the Vietnam conflict and the Cold War should also be
taken into consideration, the national defense budget climbed from roughly $48 billion in 1960 to approximately $58 billion in 1966. Although this
figure was declining as a percentage of the total federal outlay, it jumped from 42.8% in 1965 to 43.2% in 1966, the only increase since World War II.
While the increases over these six years can be viewed in relation to increased involvement in more overt political affairs, they also allow for more
room in the budget for planning and equipment purchases for an undertaking of the scope of the purported Archuleta Mesa facility. Unfortunately,
given the lack of any reliable details on the extent of the structure, it is impossible to determine a cost estimate for comparison.
In 1965, President Johnson requested an additional $1.7 billion for the Vietnam conflict. Even taking that into consideration, the national defense
budget still climbed almost six-billion dollars from the 1965 total of $50,620 billion. Even without the claims of many conspiracy theorists stating
that the government can manipulate their financial records for the so-called “black” projects, there is still a reasonable amount of leeway in the
ledger books for the construction of a large, underground facility.
While the construction of an underground facility in the Archuleta Mesa region could very well have been funded at this time, another base—one more
publicly recognized—was also being constructed at this time, and not terribly far from the region in question. About 168 miles to the northeast in
Colorado lies Cheyenne Mountain, which opened its massive blast doors also in 1966. Currently home to the North American Aerospace Defense command
(NORAD), its main objective is to monitor potential missile attacks on the United States and its troops.
The financial data is admittedly circumstantial, and any increased funding can be viewed in light of the Cheyenne Mountain project. Although this may
seem like another nail in the coffin for the Archuleta Mesa, it can also be used to support the theory as well, by considering the next logical
question: why Archuleta?
At first glance, the location seems rather illogical. The mesa is, as stated above, situated on an Indian reservation in northern New Mexico. As
anyone who has ever partaken in reservation gambling can attest, reservations are not subject to federal sovereignty.
While constructing such a facility in this non-federal location could be considered highly unethical, the federal government has proven that large
facilities can be constructed out of the view of the populace. One only has to look at the Groom Lake research facility, more commonly known as Area
51, to see proof of this. The facility was largely unknown until the late 1970’s to early 1980’s, and wasn’t even recognized by the government
until the mid 1990’s. The multitude of satellite photos that have been released show an extremely large above ground installation, and there were
few, if any reports of the construction of the facility.
The county of Rio Arriba, in which Archuleta Mesa partially sits, has a total land area of 5,883 square miles. The 1960 population of the county was
24,193. This gives a population density of slightly over four people per square mile. By contrast, neighboring Taos County, with a land area of
2,257 square miles and a 1960 population of 15,934, has a population density of just over seven people per square mile. While nearby Sandoval County
(land area of 3,717 square miles and a 1960 population of 14,201) has a lower population density at just under four people per square mile, it is also
far enough south to remove it from one benefit of Archuleta Mesa’s location.
When constructing any facility for any purposes, whether it is a military installation or a corporate branch office, one of the first things one
considers is the logistics of physical transportation to neighboring sites. Especially in the days before the Internet made communication a much
easier facet of life, the distance between two locations has always been a major factor in site planning. While the Archuleta Mesa and its
surrounding area may seem rather remote and all but useless from a general perspective, it does theoretically have one major benefit in this
As stated above, the Cheyenne Mountain facility opened its doors in 1966, and is situated roughly 168 miles to the northeast in Colorado. By keeping
its radars and sensors tuned to the skies at all times, it is an excellent resource for tracking aerial phenomena. If the Archuleta Mesa facility
were to exist, and it were to be used for the study of extraterrestrial craft and beings, then it would be of great use to have it near the United
States’ primary aerospace tracking facility. The proximity would allow for easier travel for briefings, as well as quicker transportation of
Another facility that most certainly bears mention lies roughly 85 miles to the southeast of Archuleta Mesa. Famous for the research done with the
Manhattan Project, Los Alamos is one of the United States’ top research facilities. By building a new facility near this center, the more mundane
work done at Los Alamos can continue without the need for extending security clearance, and the communication of information and research done at both
facilities can be more easily shared as needed.
One final claim commonly used by debunkers bears consideration here, although a counter-argument is generally based only on speculation and is being
offered here admittedly as such, with no basis in statistics or reports. In order to maintain a facility that is reported to be as large as the
Archuleta Mesa base, there must be a large number of staff. These personnel must enter and leave the facility at some point in time, which bears the
question: where are the “doors?” Why is no one ever seen entering and leaving the mesa?
The answer, as stated above, is speculative. Entrances could be located any where in the region. The mesa itself covers a fairly large tract of
land, and any method of entering or leaving the facility need not be located in any one particular area. In fact, it can even be stated that the
entrances don’t have to be even close to the facility, whereas it wouldn’t be that much more difficult to create a small subway system when the
equipment and finances have already been appropriated.
There is no proof that there is a top-secret research facility under the Archuleta Mesa. There is no proof of any government involvement with
extraterrestrials, or even proof that extraterrestrials exist. The evidence to back such a claim as a multi-level underground base under the
Archuleta Mesa is highly circumstantial, and in some cases can even be used against the theory.
However, given the financial data for the time period and various aspects of the location of the purported base, to say that it’s impossible is just
as much of a stretch as to say it exists without a doubt. It is most certainly plausible that the government could have constructed such a facility.
The Archuleta Mesa holds reasonable logistical value for the construction of a research center, and the defense budget of the mid-1960’s certainly
gives room for the initiation of such an undertaking.
Will we ever know for certain? Most likely not. If it exists, the lack of public attention it has received leads to the conclusion that any projects
undertaken there, extraterrestrial or otherwise, are under some of the highest security guidelines. As long as there is a need for national security,
there will be a need to keep these projects under the tightest wraps. But the possibilities are most certainly there.
Note: The distances calculated are estimates based on rough locations of features/cities from the USGS National Map Viewer. The latitudes and
longitudes given at that site were used in calculations at Chris Michels’ Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation page. Both are given as
references. The distance from the Archuleta Mesa to Los Alamos is based on the city of Los Alamos, and not necessarily the research facility.
However, any difference should be negligible in terms of the usage here.
“Extra-Terrestrial Installation in Dulce, New Mexico.” AboveTopSecret.com.
Diedrich, John. “History of Cheyenne Mountain.” The Gazette. Found on