Cinder cone

A cinder cone is a steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments, such as either volcanic clinkers, volcanic ash, or cinder that has been built around a volcanic vent.[1][2] The pyroclastic fragments are formed by explosive eruptions or lava fountains from a single, typically cylindrical, vent. As the gas-charged lava is blown violently into the air, it breaks into small fragments that solidify and fall as either cinders, clinkers, or scoria around the vent to form a cone that often is symmetrical; with slopes between 30–40°; and a nearly circular ground plan. Most cinder cones have a bowl-shaped crater at the summit.[1]

Cinder cone diagram
Schematic representation of the internal structure of a typical cinder cone
Scoria Cone - Cross-section Diagram
Cross-section diagram of a cinder cone or scoria cone
SP Crater
SP Crater, an extinct cinder cone in Arizona
Paricutin 30 613
Parícutin erupting in 1943

Mechanics of eruption

The rock fragments, often called cinders or scoria, are glassy and contain numerous gas bubbles "frozen" into place as magma exploded into the air and then cooled quickly.[2] Cinder cones range in size from tens to hundreds of meters tall.[2] Cinder cones are made of pyroclastic material. Many cinder cones have a bowl-shaped crater at the summit. During the waning stage of a cinder-cone eruption, the magma has lost most of its gas content. This gas-depleted magma does not fountain but oozes quietly into the crater or beneath the base of the cone as lava.[3] Lava rarely issues from the top (except as a fountain) because the loose, uncemented cinders are too weak to support the pressure exerted by molten rock as it rises toward the surface through the central vent.[2] Because it contains so few gas bubbles, the molten lava is denser than the bubble-rich cinders.[3] Thus, it often burrows out along the bottom of the cinder cone, lifting the less dense cinders like a cork on water, and advances outward, creating a lava flow around the cone's base.[3] When the eruption ends, a symmetrical cone of cinders sits at the center of a surrounding pad of lava.[3] If the crater is fully breached, the remaining walls form an amphitheatre or horseshoe shape around the vent.


Cinder cones are commonly found on the flanks of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas.[2] For example, geologists have identified nearly 100 cinder cones on the flanks of Mauna Kea, a shield volcano located on the island of Hawaii.[2]

The most famous cinder cone, Paricutin, grew out of a corn field in Mexico in 1943 from a new vent.[2] Eruptions continued for nine years, built the cone to a height of 424 meters, and produced lava flows that covered 25 km².[2]

The Earth's most historically active cinder cone is Cerro Negro in Nicaragua.[2] It is part of a group of four young cinder cones NW of Las Pilas volcano. Since its initial eruption in 1850, it has erupted more than 20 times, most recently in 1995 and 1999.[2]

Based on satellite images it was suggested that cinder cones might occur on other terrestrial bodies in the solar system too.[4] They were reported on the flanks of Pavonis Mons in Tharsis,[5][6] in the region of Hydraotes Chaos[7] on the bottom of the Coprates Chasma,[8] or in the volcanic field Ulysses Colles.[9] It is also suggested that domical structures in Marius Hills might represent lunar cinder cones.[10]

Effect of environmental conditions

The size and shape of cinder cones depend on environmental properties as different gravity and/or atmospheric pressure might change the dispersion of ejected scoria particles.[4] For example, cinder cones on Mars seem to be more than two times wider than terrestrial analogues[9] as lower atmospheric pressure and gravity enable wider dispersion of ejected particles over a larger area.[4][11] Therefore, it seems that erupted amount of material is not sufficient on Mars for the flank slopes to attain the angle of repose and Martian cinder cones seem to be ruled mainly by ballistic distribution and not by material redistribution on flanks as typical on Earth.[11]

Monogenetic cones

Some cinder cones are monogenetic – the result of a single, never-to-be-repeated eruption. Parícutin in Mexico, Diamond Head, Koko Head, Punchbowl Crater and some cinder cones on Mauna Kea are monogenetic cinder cones.

Monogenetic eruptions can last for more than 10 years. Parícutin erupted from 1943 to 1952.

See also


  1. ^ a b Poldervaart, A (1971). "Volcanicity and forms of extrusive bodies". In Green, J; Short, NM (eds.). Volcanic Landforms and Surface Features: A Photographic Atlas and Glossary. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 1–18. ISBN 978-3-642-65152-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document: "Photo glossary of volcano terms: Cinder cone".
  3. ^ a b c d  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document: Susan S. Priest; Wendell A. Duffield; Nancy R. Riggs; Brian Poturalski; Karen Malis-Clark (2002). "Red Mountain Volcano – A Spectacular and Unusual Cinder Cone in Northern Arizona". USGS Fact Sheet 024-02. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
  4. ^ a b c Wood, C.A. (1979). "Cinder cones on Earth, Moon and Mars". Lunar Planet. Sci. X. pp. 1370–72.
  5. ^ Bleacher, J.E.; Greeley, R.; Williams, D.A.; Cave, S.R.; Neukum, G. (2007). "Trends in effusive style at the Tharsis Montes, Mars, and implications for the development of the Tharsis province". J. Geophys. Res. 112 (E9): E09005. Bibcode:2007JGRE..112.9005B. doi:10.1029/2006JE002873.
  6. ^ Keszthelyi, L.; Jaeger, W.; McEwen, A.; Tornabene, L.; Beyer, R.A.; Dundas, C.; Milazzo, M. (2008). "High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images of volcanic terrains from the first 6 months of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter primary science phase". J. Geophys. Res. 113 (E4): E04005. Bibcode:2008JGRE..113.4005K. CiteSeerX doi:10.1029/2007JE002968.
  7. ^ Meresse, S; Costard, F; Mangold, N.; Masson, Philippe; Neukum, Gerhard; the HRSC Co-I Team (2008). "Formation and evolution of the chaotic terrains by subsidence and magmatism: Hydraotes Chaos, Mars". Icarus. 194 (2): 487. Bibcode:2008Icar..194..487M. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.10.023.
  8. ^ Brož, Petr; Hauber, Ernst; Wray, James J.; Michael, Gregory (2017). "Amazonian volcanism inside Valles Marineris on Mars". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 473: 122–130. Bibcode:2017E&PSL.473..122B. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.06.003.
  9. ^ a b Brož, P; Hauber, E (2012). "A unique volcanic field in Tharsis, Mars: Pyroclastic cones as evidence for explosive eruptions". Icarus. 218 (1): 88–99. Bibcode:2012Icar..218...88B. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.11.030.
  10. ^ Lawrence, SJ; Stopar, Julie D.; Hawke, B. Ray; Greenhagen, Benjamin T.; Cahill, Joshua T. S.; Bandfield, Joshua L.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Denevi, Brett W.; Robinson, Mark S.; Glotch, Timothy D.; Bussey, D. Benjamin J.; Spudis, Paul D.; Giguere, Thomas A.; Garry, W. Brent (2013). "LRO observations of morphology and surface roughness of volcanic cones and lobate lava flows in the Marius Hills". J. Geophys. Res. Planets. 118 (4): 615–34. Bibcode:2013JGRE..118..615L. doi:10.1002/jgre.20060.
  11. ^ a b Brož, Petr; Čadek, Ondřej; Hauber, Ernst; Rossi, Angelo Pio (2014). "Shape of scoria cones on Mars: Insights from numerical modeling of ballistic pathways" (PDF). Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 406: 14–23. Bibcode:2014E&PSL.406...14B. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.09.002.

Auquihuato (possibly from Quechua, awki: prince, watu: prediction, fortuneteller) is a cinder cone in the Andes of Peru, 4,980 metres (16,339 ft) high. It is situated in the Ayacucho Region, Paucar del Sara Sara Province, on the border of the districts Colta and Oyolo. Auquihuato lies northeast of Sara Sara volcano.

Cache Hill

Cache Hill is a cinder cone in northern British Columbia, Canada. It is thought to have last erupted in the Holocene period. Once used as an airdrop for food and supplies by the Geophysical Survey of Canada, hence its name, it is located north of Raspberry Pass in Mount Edziza Provincial Park.

Cinder Cone (British Columbia)

Cinder Cone is a cinder cone with a small crater on the west side of the Helm Glacier in Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. Cinder Cone is surrounded by cinder flats and its crater is filled with melt water during the summer. Cinder Cone is eroded easily by melt water during the spring, washing the pyroclastics into the Valley of Desolation. Cinder Cone produced a 9 km (6 mi) long lava flow during the early Holocene.

Cinder Cone and the Fantastic Lava Beds

Cinder Cone is a cinder cone volcano in Lassen Volcanic National Park within the United States. It is located about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Lassen Peak and provides an excellent view of Brokeoff Mountain, Lassen Peak, and Chaos Crags.

The cone was built to a height of 750 feet (230 m) above the surrounding area and spread ash over 30 square miles (78 km2). Then, like many cinder cones, it was snuffed out when several basalt lava flows erupted from its base. These flows, called the Fantastic Lava Beds, spread northeast and southwest, and dammed creeks, first creating Snag Lake on the south and then Butte Lake to the north. Butte Lake is fed by water from Snag Lake seeping through the lava beds. Nobles Emigrant Trail goes around Snag Lake and follows the edge of the lava beds.

Its age has been controversial since the 1870s, when many people thought it was only a few decades old. Later, the cone and associated lava flows were thought to have formed about 1700 or during a 300-year- long series of eruptions ending in 1851. Recent studies by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, working in cooperation with the National Park Service to better understand volcanic hazards in the Lassen area, have firmly established that Cinder Cone was formed during two eruptions that occurred in the 1650s.

Cinder Mountain

Cinder Mountain is a partly eroded cinder cone at the head of Snippaker Creek, British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the Iskut-Unuk River Cones and is the source of a basaltic lava flow that extends 4 km (2 mi) north into Copper King Creek. An isolated pile of subaerial basalt flows and associated pillow lava rest on varved clay and till in King Creek. Cinder Mountain last erupted during the Pleistocene.

Eve Cone

Eve Cone is a well-preserved black cinder cone on the Big Raven Plateau, British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the 30 cinder cones on the flanks of the massive shield volcano of Mount Edziza that formed in the year 700, making it one of the most recent eruptions on the Big Raven Plateau and in Canada. Eve Cone stands by itself in the middle of the Desolation Lava Field and its distinctive shape can be seen from a long distance. Commonly photographed, Eve Cone is covered by light yellow pumice from a close by but unknown vent.

Gabrielse Cone

Gabrielse Cone is a remarkably fresh, clearly postglacial monogenetic cinder cone, located in the Tuya Volcanic Field in British Columbia, Canada. It is about 400 m (1,312 ft) in diameter and has a central crater about 30 m (98 ft) deep. It is Holocene in age and to its northeast appears to be breached with the remnants of a lava flow. The cone is near the headwaters of Iverson Creek.

Gabrielse Cone was named after Hu Gabrielse, who first identified the cone.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is an American national park in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range. Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907: Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument.The source of heat for the volcanism in the Lassen area is subduction of the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate off the Northern California coast. The area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found—plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and stratovolcano.The park is accessible via State Routes 89 and 44. SR 89 passes north-south through the park, beginning at

SR 36 to the south and ending at SR 44 to the north. SR 89 passes immediately adjacent to the base of Lassen Peak.

There are five vehicle entrances to the park: the north and south entrances on SR 89; and unpaved roads entering at Drakesbad and Juniper Lake in the south, and at Butte Lake in the northeast. The park can also be accessed by trails leading in from the Caribou Wilderness to the east, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail, and two smaller trails leading in from Willow Lake and Little Willow Lake to the south.

The Lassen Chalet, a large lodge with concession facilities, was located near the southwest entrance, but was demolished in 2005. A new full-service visitor center in the same location opened to the public in 2008. The Lassen Ski Area was located near the lodge; it ceased operation in 1992 and all infrastructure has been removed.

Lava Butte

Lava Butte is a cinder cone in central Oregon, United States, just west of U.S. Route 97 between the towns of Bend, Oregon, and Sunriver, Oregon. It is part of a system of small cinder cones on the northwest flank of Newberry Volcano, a massive shield volcano which rises to the southeast. The cinder cone is capped by a crater which extends about 60 feet (20 m) deep beneath its south rim, and 160 feet (50 m) deep from the 5,020-foot (1,530 m) summit on its north side. Lava Butte is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

List of Northern Cordilleran volcanoes

The geography of northwestern British Columbia and Yukon, Canada is dominated by volcanoes of the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province formed due to continental rifting of the North American Plate. It is the most active volcanic region in Canada. Some of the volcanoes are notable for their eruptions, for instance, Tseax Cone for its catastrophic eruption estimated to have occurred in the 18th century which was responsible for the death of at least 2,000 Nisga'a people from poisonous volcanic gases, the Mount Edziza volcanic complex for at least 20 eruptions throughout the past 10,000 years, and The Volcano (also known as Lava Fork volcano) for the most recent eruption in Canada during 1904. The majority of volcanoes in the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province lie in Canada while a very small portion of the volcanic province lies in the U.S. state of Alaska.

Volcanoes of the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province are a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The largest and most persistent volcanoes are the Mount Edziza volcanic complex and Level Mountain in northwestern British Columbia which have had volcanic activity for millions of years. In the past 7.5 million years, the Mount Edziza volcanic complex has had five phases of volcanic activity while Level Mountain north of Edziza has had three phases of volcanic activity in the past 14.9 million years. The 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi) Mount Edziza volcanic complex has been made into a provincial park since 1972 to protect its volcanic landscape. The 102 Northern Cordilleran volcanoes in the list below are grouped into their political regions in north-south order.

Nahta Cone

Nahta Cone is a cinder cone in northern British Columbia, Canada, located 69 km (43 mi) southwest of Tatogga, 9 km (6 mi) north of Wetalth Ridge and south of Telegraph Creek. It lies in the southwestern corner of Mount Edziza Provincial Park.

Opal Cone

Opal Cone is a cinder cone located on the southeast flank of Mount Garibaldi in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It is the source of a 15 km long broad dacite lava flow with prominent wrinkled ridges. The lava flow is unusually long for a silicic lava flow.

Opal Cone is a member of the Cascade Volcanoes, but it is located in the Garibaldi Ranges in the Coast Mountains and not in the Cascade Range proper.

Prindle Volcano

Prindle Volcano is an isolated basaltic cinder cone located in eastern Alaska, United States, in the headwaters of the East Fork of the Fortymile River. The cone is fresh-looking and has a base approximately 900 metres (980 yards) wide. It is the northwesternmost expression of the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province. The cinder cone, and an approximately 11-kilometre (6.8-mile) long lava flow which breached the margin of the cone, erupted in the Pleistocene approximately 176,000 years ago. Rocks forming the Prindle Volcano occur within, and penetrated through, the Yukon–Tanana upland which is a large region of mostly Paleozoic-Mesozoic metamorphosed and deformed sedimentary, volcanic, and intrusive rocks that are intruded by younger Cretaceous and Cenozoic granitic rocks. Xenoliths in the volcano's ejecta provide a sample of lower crust material.

Ruby Mountain

Ruby Mountain, locally known as Old Volcano, is a cinder cone in Stikine Region, British Columbia, Canada, located 23 km northeast of Atlin and 6 km (4 mi) south of Mount Barham. A recent collapse on the volcano's eastern side created a large landslide which dissects this side of Ruby Mountain. The volcano is the largest feature within the Atlin Volcanic Field.

S P Crater

S P Crater is a cinder cone volcano in the San Francisco volcanic field, 25 miles (40 km) north of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is surrounded by several other cinder cones which are older and more eroded. It is a striking feature on the local landscape, with a well-defined lava flow that extends for 4.3 miles (7 km) to the north.

Twin Cone

Twin Cone is a cinder cone in northern British Columbia, Canada. It is thought to have last erupted in the Holocene period.

Ulysses Fossae

The Ulysses Fossae are a group of troughs in the Tharsis quadrangle of Mars at 10.06° north latitude and 123.07° west longitude. They were named after an albedo feature name. The area contains pitted cones called Ulysses Colles which were interpreted to be possible Martian equivalents to terrestrial cinder cones.

Volcanic cone

Volcanic cones are among the simplest volcanic landforms. They are built by ejecta from a volcanic vent, piling up around the vent in the shape of a cone with a central crater. Volcanic cones are of different types, depending upon the nature and size of the fragments ejected during the eruption. Types of volcanic cones include stratocones, spatter cones, tuff cones, and cinder cones.

Vulcan's Throne

Vulcan's Throne is a cinder cone volcano and a prominent landmark on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States. Vulcan's Throne, about a mile (1.7 km) west of Toroweap overlook, is part of the Uinkaret volcanic field. The journals of traveler George Corning Fraser record a trip to the summit of Vulcan's Throne in 1914. At the time, the surrounding area was used for sheep grazing, and a small reservoir had been constructed at the base of the volcano. Fraser wrote that

Vulcan's Throne is a pure cinder cone covered with scoriae, cinders, clinkers and peperino lying loose on the surface, with a slope, as near as I could measure, from 28° to 31°. A little sage, many cacti and perhaps some other similar low plants grow on it, but otherwise nothing. Climbing it was like ascending a sand-dune. Every step forward involved slipping half way back and boots were soon filled with painful bits of stone.

The cinder cone was formed during the Quaternary Period, and is cut by recent movement on the Toroweap Fault.

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