While the enigmatic Meteor Crater was originally believed to be a volcanic formation – it is now known that it was created by a meteorite impact thousands of years ago – there has been no doubt as to what created the Sunset Crater Volcano. San Francisco Mountain and Sunset Crater are only two of the hundreds of volcanoes in the San Francisco Volcanic Field, which covers about 1,800 square miles of northern Arizona. This volcano last which erupted in 1085 A.D. forming a 340-meter-high cone (1,120 ft). Sign up for our free email to join thousands of readers getting epic travel, hiking, camping and gear ideas every week. The cinder cone volcano's rim is the dusky red of sunset, but the crater is only part of the story. https://factspage.blogspot.com/2012/04/sunset-crater-national-monument.html So while Sunset Crater itself will not erupt again, there could be an eruption in the direct vicinity in the near future! Once things cooled down, the new cinder cone stood 1,000 feet tall where flat land with open meadows and forests were before. Photograph courtesy of the National Park Service. San Francisco Peaks, the high mountains 8 miles west, dominate the field and are regarded as sacred by the Navajo and Hopi peoples of today. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument: see National Parks and Monuments (table). A cloud of ash rose, steam hissed, cinders rained and red lava flowed. Scientists determined these dates using a combination of tree-ring dating, dendrochemistry, paleomagnetic analysis, and archaeological evidence. No. The most recent eruption was that of Sunset Crater Volcano, only about 900 years ago. Sunset Crater is a cinder cone volcano. The first is a very small loop which we did to walk on and around the lava flow. The one-mile wide, 550 foot-deep crater is about 50,000 years old (once again, young by geologic standards) and is the best-preserved meteorite impact site on Earth. Once off Lenox Crater, it flattens and goes through the lava bed before joining the main trail. Instead of “rusting”, scientists call this oxidation, which is a chemical reaction between iron and oxygen that results in iron oxide, or rust. Although underlain by the same rocks exposed at Wupatki, the Sunset Crater area is covered with cinders and cooled lava flows from intermittent volcanic eruptions during the last few million years. The emerging volcano buried the landscape in a thick, dark carpet of lava and ash. Sunset Crater Volcano is a fairly young volcano and so it's appearance hasn't changed a great deal. The second is on a different crater Lennox crater right across the road from the first … Sunset Crater at sunset. The Civil Works Project in the 1930s provided additional labor to widen and maintain the road, which includes some outstanding rock embankments reminding me of work done in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The cinders of the volcano itself, as well as its surrounding lava flows, are all made of gray, black, or red basalt. Do la Sunset Crater Volcano. It's one of the first places we bring all of our out-of-state visitors, and it's our favorite camping spot, where we take our kids every summer. Our Favorite Facts About the Haleakala Crater It’s the Most Famous Spot on Maui. These people were never identified, but Join 80,000+ adventurers getting epic travel, camping and hiking ideas every week. The park includes a few other cool hikes too. However, these displaced people thrived following the eruption by relocating to areas when lighter accumulations of ash and cinders provided a boost in fertility to the farmlands. See all 10 Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument tours on Tripadvisor Several hundred years before these eruptions took place, people lived at and around the volcano. Sunset Crater is a nearly symmetrical cone made of dark-gray scoria and scattered bombs. Green pines growing emerging from the lava fields is another great attraction. Stretch your legs on the several short trails (each a mile or shorter) and explore this arid volcanic field. Sunset Crater rises about 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. The crater is within the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The road was initially constructed with a mule-drawn plow and was completed in 1925. Sunset Crater is a unique experience, with the opportunity to walk among the lava and learn about lava flows and interesting facts about how Sunset Crater formed around 1,000 years ago. You can learn more about our editorial and affiliate policy here. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. Considering the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old, a 900-year-old volcano is just a baby.  A visitor center is located near the park entrance, 15 miles (24 km) north of Flagstaff, Arizona, along U.S. Highway 89. It is the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. A well-defined trail leads to Sunset Crater from where we were. There are many cinder cones around the principal and you can walk on the frozen lava. Experience not only the thrill of Sunset Crater’s vast, powerful peaks and lava flows, but also immersion into the rich history of an extinct people who once made their home in its folds – the Sinagua Indians. For those interested in climbing a cinder cone, the Lenox Crater Trail provides a moderately strenuous hike up to a nice view of the nearby San Francisco Peaks at the summit. A lava field at the foothills of the crater, estimated to be about 1000 years old. 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