(FIRE) from a strange and distant origin
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Zoom of Sunset Crater (looking east) from FS-road 592 in the
Coconino National Forest in-route to Lockett Meadows.
The "fire" came from the San Francisco Volcanic Field of northern Arizona.
A bit over 900 years old, Sunset Crater is one of the newest, youngest geologic features in Arizona.
The sunset tints of red and yellow that give the crater its name are due to
oxidation by steaming hot gases, apparently enduring for some time after
other volcanic activity ceased.
Sunset Crater is about 1,000 ft high. The lopsidedness of its rim was
caused by leeward drift of cinders during its eruption.
A blanket of dark cinders surrounds the crater and extends far east and
north, covering an area of about 120 square miles.
Sunset Crater is one of 400 cinder cones, formed long after San Francisco
Mountain (and Humphreys Peak) had taken shape. It's the most recent expression of volcanic activity in this field, or for that matter in the
entire southwestern United States.
October 14, 2009